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From the Libraiy o£ 

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1365 3uifalo> H.Y. 1953 
Please remember Ms soul 





Joseph Sarto. 

Supreme Pontiff Now Gloriously Reigning. 









Author of 

" The Iroquois and the Jesuits," " Popular Progress." 


Catholic Historical Publishing Co. 


Copyright, 1904 
Catholic Historical Publishing Company. 




The standard of the cross was raised and the faith of Christ was proclaimed in Western New York 
nearly two and one-half centuries ago, and many events of historical interest, to Catholics especially, 
have transpired since the Black Gowns first traversed this region. More than three-quarters of a 
century have elapsed since the first Catholic congregation was formed in the western part of the State. 
This span of time transcends the memory of the ordinary mortal. The circumstances of the forma- 
tion of the first parishes may be a faint reflection of childhood for a very few now ; but they are early 
traditions, handed down from their ancestors for the great number of old inhabitants. The memory 
of some still living goes back to the thirties, and they learned from the preceding generation the story 
of early struggles and rude commencements of Catholic congregations. 

It was full time, therefore, that these early events should be recorded in permanent form, whilst 
there were still living witnesses to confirm or correct the early oral history of the Church in Western 
New York, before it became involved in the mist of unreliable memory, or perhaps passed into oblivion. 

The saintly Bishop Timon realized the importance of this work; and in the preface to his little 
work he says: "Amidst occupations already almost excessive, it seemed wrong to attempt a work 
like this — when only interrupted moments, snatched from important and necessary duties, could 
be devoted to examining documents, written at various epochs, during hundreds of years. But the 
advice of respected friends, and the suggestion that, if not soon begun, future steps in this direction 
might be almost impossible, made us hesitate. . . . Then, far advanced in the midnight vigil, 
or long before dawn of day, we strove to make a beginning; hoping that our labors might induce 
others who have time and talent to follow the glimpses that may open through these pages, and 
unfold the shadows which still rest 'round the dark and stormy past; and make it bright with 
evidence that in America, . . . God protected the Church, . . . and matured its fruits of 
love." Bishop Timon made a beginning, but he did not have the time to complete a work of such 

The writer had collected material for some years, and had made notes for a history of the diocese, 
but without any definite purpose of prosecuting the work until he was requested to do the literary 
part of the work for a company already organized. 

The writer wishes to acknowledge his indebtedness to Archbishop Quigley, Bishop Colton and 
Father Connery, for encouragement; and to the priests of the diocese and the heads of institutions, 
for historical sketches and notes which rendered his task less toilsome. 

To Mr. John McManus, well versed in local church history, the writer is indebted for documents 
and information, and to Mr. Charles G. Deuther for permission to use extracts from his "Life of 
Bishop Timon." 

The work has been completed within a year from its inception ; but the author trusts that speed 
was not gained at the sacrifice of accuracy or thorough research. Many minor matters were eliminated, 
to keep the volume within portable proportions. 


Buffalo, April 21, 1904. 




Chapter I. The Iroquois. ............ 13 

Their origin; the Kahquahs or Neuters; the Iroquois country; population; Kahquahs; 
league of the Iroquois; government; trade. 

Chapter II. Locations of the Iroquois Towns. ....... 16 

Indian towns not permanent; Mohawk towns; destroyed by the French; Greenhalgh's 
description; Oneida towns; Onondaga the capital; St. Mary's of Ganentaa; Cayuga villages; 
many Cayugas remove to Canada; Seneca towns according to a Seneca chief; Jesuit names of 
Seneca villages; locations. 

Chapter III. Religious Belief. .......... 19 

Religious belief preserved by tradition; their idea of God; creation of the world; origin of 
evil; inferior spirits or manitous; dream theory; festival of dreams; the soul; the Indian's 
heaven; the soul can act independently of the body; veneration for the dead; festival of the dead; 
vices of savages. 

Chpater IV. Advent of Europeans. ......... 21 

Indians kindly disposed towards whites; Cartier explores the St. Lawrence; first meeting 
of French and Iroquois was hostile; Champlain fought with the Montagnais against the Mohawks; 
Iroquois fled at sound of guns; Champlain's expedition against the Iroquois; French made 
friends of the Hurons; missioners; the Recollects; the Huron mission; journey to the Huron 

Chapter V. First Attempts. ........... 23 

Capture of Father Paulain; Father D'Aillon, Recollect, visits the Neuters; visited many 
villages; Brebeuf and Chaumonot, Jesuits, visit the Neuters; reach the Niagara; Huron Christ- 
ians come as missioners: Jogues, first missioner to the Iroquois; taken prisoner; tortured; death 
of Rene Goupil; captivity; escape; first mission work. 

Chapter VI. War ' 30 

Montmagny builds Fort Richelieu; Iroquois, the scourge of Catholic missions and French 
colony; wealthy Catholics of France come to rescue; capture of Bressani ; tortures; peace coun- 
cils; Jogues, French ambassador to the Mohawks; consoles Christian captives; the mysterious 

Chapter VII. War of Extermination. ......... 32 

Missioners among the Hurons; their manner of living; to arms, the Iroquois come; attack 
on St. Joseph's mission; Hurons fly to the chapel; Christian Hurons led captive to Iroquois 
country; St. Ignace destroyed; savage slaughter; Jesuit martyrs; the Huron nation dispersed; 
Iroquois exterminate the Kahquahs; fidelity of Huron captives. 

Chapter VIII. Peace. ............. 34 

Onondagas and Oneidas propose peace; Senecas and Cayugas follow; Mohawks send 
deputies; preliminaries; French and Fathers rejoice; doubtful sincerity; Iroquois renounce 
cannibalism; LeMoyne visits the Iroquois country; hears confession of Hurons ; many Christians; 
the council; Onondagas ask for missioners. 



Chapter IX. Missions Begun 37 

Chaumonot and Dablon, missloners to the Iroquois; fantastic faith in dreams; Chaumonot 
meets old friends; warm welcome; public meeting; Chaumonot's eloquence; Fathers begin to 
teach; first church in New York State; Frenchcolony at Onondaga; site for new chapel ; progress; 
Gospel announced to the Cayugas; chapel built; opposition; Mesnard withdraws; Chaumonot 
bears the Gospel to the Senecas; many Huron Christians in Seneca country; Chaumonot and 
Mesnard visit the Oneidas; council held; the Mohawks attack Christian Hurons; LeMoyne 
visits Mohawks; success at Onondaga; danger; were the Iroquois sincere; treachery; secret 
council resolved to massacre French; preparing for flight; banqueting the enemy; flight of the 
French; result of the first mission. 

Chapter X. War and Peace. ........... 55 

Indian warfare; missioners blockaded; Onondagas propose peace; LeMoyne goes to Onon- 
daga; council; French too weak to refuse peace; LaMoyne labors among Iroquois; faith of 
Christian Indians; troops arrive from France; expedition against Mohawks; peace. 

Chapter XI. New Missions. 57 

Blessings of peace; mission journey to the Iroquois; Indian ofifering to invisible people; 
visit to the Mohawks; council; chapel built; Huron fideUty; chapel built at Oneida; Garnier 
visits Onondaga; Garakontie assists; Carheil visits Cayuga; chapel built; few converts; Fremin 
visits the Senecas; chapel built; Christian Huron captives; daily routine; instructing captives 
at the stake; difficulties; Dream worship; labors of Fathers; death at the stake; Carheil at Cayu- 
ga; Indian medical science; Cayugas dread baptism; building a grand chapel; Fathers among the 
Senecas; first church council; danger; new mission; progress of Christianity; bright prospects; peace 
council at Quebec; baptism of Garakontie; Huron Christians ; Pagan prejudices at Cayuga; dream 
theory; Huron Christians of Gandougarae; examples of piety; Indian idea of heaven; dreams; 
Garakontie's faith; condemns dream folly; hatred of sin; Gandougarae destroyed; Hquor 
drinking; obstacles to faith; delayed conversions; baptism of Saonchiogwa; council at Quebec; 
Iroquois exiles; few converts; CathoUc Iroquois emigrate; influence of sorcerers; Pagan behef; 
Garakontie's example; obstacles to conversion; practice of medicine; RaffeLx charmed with 
Cayuga; piety at Cayuga; chapels among the Senecas; false notions; omens of evil; Christian 
family life; converts become apostles ; heahng the sick; death of Garakontie; Carheil' s patience; 
interest in sorcery; Pagan preaches Christianity; slaves wiUing converts; Iroquois invited to meet 
Governor Frontenac; Fort Cataroquoi; the liquor evil; rumbUngs of war. 

Chapter XIII. Conclusion of the Missions in the Iroquois Country. . . 81 

Dutch indifferent to Indian advancement; England and France rival powers for dominion; 
the fur trade; French missionaries divert trade from the EngUsh; efforts to counteract the mis- 
sioners' influence; Dongan promises EngHsh priests if Iroquois will banish French; Iroquois 
valuable aUies; both English and French claim territory of the Iroquois; Iroquois divided in 
fealty; Christian Iroquois leave their homes; missioners leave the Mohawks; close of the mission; 
Senecas' interests promoted by alliance with Enghsh; deceived by LaSalle; Governor De la Barre 
invites Iroquois to a council; Governor Dongan invites them to English council; threatened war 
forces Fathers to leave; DeLamberville the innocent instrument of deceit; Denonville invades 
Seneca country; Senecas retaliate; Iroquois unite with English in war against France; Millet 
prisoner at Oneida; peace; Iroquois request missioners to return; Catholic priests banished 
from New York State by English law; Fathers return; close of missions. 

Chapter XIV. Result of the Missions 87 

CannibaUsm abandoned; hatred supplanted- by love; Christian truths adopted by Iroquois; 
religious strife of Europeans obstacle to faith; sacrifices of Christian Indians; Indian martyrs; 
pious examples; kind and pious ladies of France help to educate Indians; Jesuits start seminary 
at Quebec; Ursulines open convent for Indians; Indians prefer forest freedom to convent walls; 
Iroquois girls most tractable; Christian Indians prized Catholic books; schools in the forest; 
schools at the Catholic settlements. 


Chapter XV. LaSalle and Father Hennepin. ....... 91 

LaSalle learns topography of country from Iroquois; water route to East Indies; expedition 
for faith and fame; visit Senecas; visitors regaled with roast dog; visit Niagara River; DoUier and 
Galinee build first chapel on Lake Erie; winter sojourn in the forest; lake storm ends missionary 
enterprise; second expedition; building of the Griffon; Te Deum at Niagara; first record of mass 
at Niagara; Hennepin's midwinter journey to Senecas; where the Griffon was built; Griffon 
anchored at Squaw Island; first religious service in Buffalo; loss of the Griffon, Fort Niagara. 



Chapter I. The Twilight. ........... 105 

Governor Dongan brought Jesuits to New York; started college; Catholic services pro- 
scribed; Acadians in New York; first resident priest in New York. 

Chapter II. Beginning of Church History in Western New York. . . . 108 
First settlers; Rochester founded ; early highways; formation of diocese; church at Albany; 
Erie Canal; early Buffalo; first Catholic clergyman in Buffalo. 

Chapter III. The Missionary-^ Period. ......... 114 

First pastor of Rochester; first pastor of Buffalo; missionary visits; St. Patrick's, Buffalo; 
St. Joseph's, Rochester; first mass in several places; Rochester and Buffalo made cities. 

Chapter IV. New York a Diocese. ......... 128 

First bishop of New York; the confessional ; second bishop of New York ; scarcity of priests; 
troubles with trustees; Bishop Dubois. 

Chapter V. The Formative Period. ......... 134 

Formation of parishes; Louis Lecouteulx; the Rev. Patrick Kelly; a vast parish. 

Chapter VI. Bishop Timon's First Year's Work in Buffalo. .... 136 

Buffalo a diocese; first bishop; arrival in Buffalo; first labors; visits through diocese; 
secures sisters; visits Indians. 

Chapter VII. Bishop Timon's First Visit to Europe. ...... 139 

Bishop visits Europe to obtain priests, sisters and money; ceaseless labor; one week's work; 
visits prominent personages; gift from the Pope. 

Chapter VIII. Trustees' Trouble at St. Louis' Church Before the Formation of 

THE Diocese. ............ 141 

Financial difficulties; trustees managed finances ; secured pastors; Bishop Hughes' pastoral ; 
St. Louis' Church property; church interdicted; peace restored. 

Chapter IX. St. Louis' Church Trouble With Bishop Timon. .... 156 
Origin of trouble; various documents; pastor leaves; church interdicted; Papal Nuncio; 
people good; question brought to Legislature ; Archbishop Hughes refutes misrepresentations; 
Archbishop Bedini adjudicates the case; trustees' side; peace. 

Chapter X. Bishop Timon and his Charitable Institutions. .... l98 

Starts orphan asylum; establishes hospitals; Good Shepherds; deaf mutes; home for the 

Chapter XI. Bishop Timon's Labors in the Interest of Education. . . . 200 
Secures religious for parochial schools; Ladies' of the Sacred Heart; St. Joseph's College; 
ecclesiastical seminary; the Franciscans; Canisius College; Christian Brothers; Grey Nuns; 
Miss Nardin's; American College at Rome. 



Chapter XII. Bishop Timon and His Cathedbal. ...... 202 

Planned cathedral early; collecting money; circular; buys land; bishop visits Mexico and 
Europe; corner stone laid; the bells; bishop loved cathedral. 

Chapter XIII. Bishop Timon and His Priests. ....... 205 

Bishop Timon's respect for authority ; was sole pastor ; treated priests as his spiritual children ; 
anonymous letters. 

Chapter XIV. Traits of Bishop Timon's Character. ...... 207 

His energy; gave missions; public lectures; retreats for priests; councillor of bishops; 
public men admired him; well known in Europe ; respect for law; student; man of prayer; trust 
in Providence. 

Chapter XV. Bishop Timon's Death and Burial. ...... 210 

Failing health; worn out with work; last sermon; last meditation; his death; funeral cere- 

Chapter XVI. Stephen Vincent Ryan, Second Bishop of Buffalo. 


Bishop Timon's successor; a religious; consecration ceremony; dignitaries present; con- 
dition of diocese. 

Chapter XVII. Bishop Ryan Promotes Education. ...... 214 

Sends students to Propaganda; examination for young priests; appoints board of school 
examiners; lectures on Christian schools. 

Chapter XVIII. Some Events of Bishop Ryan's Episcopate. .... 224 

Pastoral letters; favors Apostolic Delegate; love for Holy See. 

Chapter XIX. Controversy with Dr. Cox. ........ 226 

Lectures in reply to Dr. Cox's sermon; controversy; articles printed in book form; Angelican 
orders; effective retort. 

Chapter XX. Bishop Ryan's Silver Jubilee. . . . . . . . 228 

Jubilee celebration; sermon by Archbishop Ryan; gift of priests; laymen's meeting. 

Chapter XXI. Bishop Ryan's Illness and Death. ...... 230 

Delicate constitution; trouble in St. Adelbert's parish ; defection of Poles; bishop's affliction ; 
desires coadjutor; bishop's death; expressions of sorrow; funeral ceremonies. 

Chapter XXII. Third Bishop of Buffalo, Rt. Rev. James E. Quigley. . . 233 

New method of electing bishops; choice of electors; Dr. Quigley selected; consecration; 
diocese divided; knew diocese well; attacks socialism; great meeting; Dr. Heiter's work; ap- 
pointed to Chicago; Fourth Bishop of Buffalo, Rt. Rev. Charles H. Colton. 


historical sketches of parishes and institutions. 

St. Joseph's Cathedral, Buffalo, . 

St. Adelbert's Church, Buffalo, . 

St. Agnes' Church, Buffalo, 

St. Ann's Church, Buffalo, 

Church of the Annunciation, Buffalo, 

Church of the Anthony of Padua, Buffalo, 

Church of the Assumption, Buffalo, 

Church of the Blessed Sacrament, Buffalo, 



St. Boniface Church, Buffalo, 

St. Bridget's Church, Buffalo, 

St. Casimir's Church, Buffalo, 

St. Columba's Church, Buffalo, 

Corpus Christi Church, Buffalo, 

St. Francis Xavier's Church, Buffalo, 

St. Gerard's Church, Buffalo, . 

Holy Angel's Church, Buffalo, 

Holy Family Church, Buffalo, 

Holy Name Church, Buffalo, 

Immaculate Conception Church, Buffalo, 

St. John the Baptist Church, Buffalo, 

St. Joseph's Church, Buffalo, 

St. John Kanty's Church, Buffalo, 

St. Louis' Church, Buffalo, 

St. Mary's Church, Buffalo, 

St. Mary Magdalene, Buffalo, 

St. Michael's Church, Buffalo, 

Church of the Nativity, Buffalo, 

St. Nicholas Church, Buffalo, 

Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Buffalo, 

Old St. Patrick's Church, Buffalo, 

St. Patrick's Church, Buffalo, 

St. Peter's and Our Lady of Lourdes Church, Buffalo, 

Sacred Heart Church, Buffalo, 

St. Mary of Sorrow's Church, Buffalo, 

St. Stanislaus Church, Buffalo, 

St. Stephan's Church, Buffalo, 

St. Theresa's Church, Buffalo, 

Church of Transfiguration, Buffalo, 

Church of the Visitation, Buffalo, 

St. Vincent's Church, Buffalo, 

St. Theresa's Church, Akron, 

St. Joseph's Church, Albion, 

St. John the Baptist Church, Alden, 

The -Franciscans, Allegany, 

Church of the Blessed Sacrament, Andover, 

Church of the Most Precious Blood, Angola, 

St. Vincent's Church, Attica, 

St. Joseph's Church, Batavia, 

St. Patrick's Church, Belfast, 

St. Mary's Church, Belmont, 

St. James' Church, Angelica, 

Sacred Heart Church, Bennington Centre, 

St. Bridget's Church, Bergen, 

St. Mary's Church, Bolivar, 

St. John the Baptist Church, Boston, 

Our Lady, Help of Christians, Cheektowaga, 

Our Lady of Angels Church, Cuba, 

St. James' Church, Depew, 

St. Mary's Church, Dunkirk, 

Sacred Heart Church, Dunkirk, . 

St. Hyacinth's Church, Dunkirk, 

St. Hedwig's Church, Dunkirk, 

St. Mary's Church, East Arcade, 









Immaculate Conception Church, East Aurora, Holland, Saridina, Springbrook 

Immaculate Conception Church, East Eden, 

St. Mary's Church, East Pembroke, 

Most Holy Name of Mary Church, Ellicottville, 

St. Joseph's Church, Fredonia, 

Holy Helper's Church, Gardenville, 

St. Paul of the Cross Church, Gowanda, 

Peter and St. Paul's Church, Hamburg, 

Mary's Church, Holley, 

Peter and St. Paul's Church, Jamestown, 

Patrick's Church, Java, 
St. Nicholas' Church, North Java, 
St. Paul's Church, Kenmore, . 
St. John's Church, North Bush, 
Church of the Assumption, Lancaster, 

St. Martin's Church, Langford, Im. Conception Church, New 
St. Peter's Church, Le Roy, 
St. Peter's Church, Lewiston, Youngstown, 
St. Patrick's Church, Limestone, 
St. John the Baptist Church, Lockport, 
St. Mary's Church, Lockport, 
St. Patrick's Church, Lockport, . 
St. Mary's Church, Medina, 
St. Stephan's Church, Middleport, 
St. Bridget's Church, Newfane, 
St. Mary's Church, Niagara Falls, 
Sacred Heart Church, Niagara Falls, . 
St. Joseph's Church, Niagara Falls, 
Church of the Ascension, North Tonawanda 
St. Mary of the Angels Church, Olean, 
St. John's Church, North Olean, 
St. Mary's Church, Pavilion, 
St. James Church, Westifield, 
Church of the Good Shepherd, Pendleton, 
St. Joseph's Church, Perry, 
St. Mary's Church, Silver Springs, 
Church of the Assumption, Portage, 
St. Patrick's Church, Randolph, . 
St. Cecilia's Church, Sheldon, 
St. Patrick's Church, Somerset, 
St. Aloysius' Church, Springville, 
St. Mary's Church, Strykersville, 
Church of the Assumption, Swormsville, 
St. Francis' of Assisiums' Church, Tonawanda, 
St. Michael's Church, Warsaw, 
Immaculate Conception Church, Wellsville, 
St. Peter and St. Paul's Church, Williamsville, 


















































St. Peter and St. Paul's Church, Elmira, 

St. Patrick's Church, Elmira, 

St. Mary's Church, Elmira, 

St. John the Baptist Church, Elmira, . 



St. Casimir's Church, Elmira 

St. Catherine's Church, Addison, 

Sacred Heart Church, Perkinsville, 

St. Mary's of the Lake Church, Watldns, 

St. Mary's Church, Horseheads, . 

St. Mary's Church, Bath, . 

St. Gabriel's Church, Hammondsport, 

St. Ann's Church, Hornellsville, . 

St. Pious Church, Cohocton, 

St. Joseph's Church, Wayland, 

St. James' Church, Waverly, 

St. Mary's Church, Rexville, 

St. Mary's Church, Corning, 

St. Patrick's Church, Corning, 

St. Patrick's Church, Owego, 




Niagara University, 

Sisters of St. Mary, 

Academy of the Sacred Heart, 

Miss Nardin's Academy, 

The Christian Brothers, 

Sisters of Mercy, 

Sisters of St. Joseph, 

St. John's Protectory, 

Holy Angels' Academy, 

Buffalo Catholic Institute, . 

North Buffalo Catholic Institute, 

The St. Francis' Asylum, 

Holy Trinity Home, Williamsville, 

St. Francis' Home, Gardenville, 





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First Bishop of the See of New York. 

Rt. Rev. JOHN CONNOLLY. 0. P. 

Rt. Rev. JOHN DU BOIS, D. D. 

Most Rev. JOHN HUGHES, D. D. 


History of the Catholic Missions 

Among the Iroquois of 

Western New York. 



|HEN the white man first placed foot on the soil of the present State of New York various 
Indian tribes inhabited different sections of the State. These tribes (1) were of a nomadic 
nature, for, although they had stable and populous villages and well-appointed towns, yet 
victory or defeat in war, the infertility of the soil, tlie insalubrity of climate, or malarial 
conditions arising from the absence of any sanitary system, often necessitated a change of 
locality, which was the more readily undertaken, as it was very easily accomplished. Their homes 
were made of the fresh chestnut or walnut saplings driven into the ground and lapped over at the 
top to form an arched roof, which was covered with bark, and when the intervening spaces were filled 
in with clay or rushes the Indian house was complete. 

Where the Iroquois originally came from may be a matter of conjecture; but their own traditions 
relate that they came direct to New York State from the region of the Algonquins, near the present 
site of Montreal. Their traditions also indicate that they were not hunters and warriors, but captives 
and slaves of the Algonquins, who used them as menials in war and in the hunt; but so successful 
were they in these affairs that they awakened the jealousy and aroused the anger of their masters, and 
several of the Iroquois braves were murdered by their envious Algonquin lords. This fact incited 
the entire tribe to rebel, and encouraged them to strive for liberty and the possession of a country of 
their own. They succeeded in escaping to the present State of New York; and, as five distinct nations, 
they settled in the valleys and along the lakes that now bear their names. 

It is pretty well established that all the Indians of North America primitively came from Asia and 
Tartary across Behring Strait to the American Continent. A fact corroborative of this theory shows, 
at least, the possibility and probability of such emigration. 

Father Grelon was one of the first Jesuits on the Huron missions around Georgian Bay, and some 
years afterwards he was in Asia, where he met a female slave whom he had known in the Huron country. 
This slave had been sold from tribe to tribe until she finally, in her wanderings, reached the plains of 

When white men first entered the present State of New York, and approached the homes of its 
Indian dwellers, the central and western sections of the State were inhabited principally by the tribes 
known to us as the Iroquois. There were five distinct nations of the Iroquois : The Mohawks, who 
dwelt in the Mohawk Valley; the Oneidas, near Lake Oneida; the Onondagas, near Lake Onondaga; 
the Cayugas, near Lake Cayuga; and the Senecas, who dwelt in the valley of the Genesee. West of 
the Senecas and between Lake Erie and Lake Ontario, near the Niagara River, were four villages of 
the Kahquahs, or Neuter Nation. Before 1639, however, another nation, called the Eurohronons (2), 
dwelt west of the Genesee River, and between the Neuters and the Senecas, and they were protected 
by the Neuters from the powerful Iroquois; but for some reason this alliance was dissolved, and for 
their own safety the Eurohronons migrated to the Huron country. East of the Mohawks, along the 
Hudson River, were various tribes of the Loup Indians. South of the Cayugas, in the present State 
of Pennsylvania, the Andastes dwelt. The populous Kahquahs, or Neuters, had their principal 
villages west of this Niagara River and Lake Erie, extending one hundred miles north into Canada. 
About one hundred miles northwest of the Kahquah territory, near Georgian Bay, were located the 
Hurons, the irreconcilable enemies of the Iroquois. 

The country of the Iroquois was one of the most attractive and delightful in America, and its 
lakes and rivers furnished fish, while its forests and plains supplied game in abundance for the support 
of Indian life. 

(1) The mound builders were these same Indians, and their mounds were either forts built before the Iro- 
quois Confederacy, or mausoleums of the dead. 

(2) Relations, 1639. 


The land of the Mohawks was not so fertile as the land of the more western nations, yet it sufficed 
for their needs; for their wants were few, and their skill in hunting and fishing made amends for the 
defective soil. The country was picturesque and pleasant, and with its charming variety of hill and 
river, of vast forest and enchanting vale, made a fitting abode for this warrior race. 

The Oneidas dwelt in the region of lofty forests, diversified with small fertile plains, which served 
to grow their corn and the vegetables of Indian husbandry. The lakes and rivers furnished fish, and 
the forests supplied game to support their easy hfe. 

The capital of the league was situated on an eminence in a fertile valley, which grew an abundance 
of corn, which, with the many fishing stations along the rivers and lakes, furnished food for the Onon- 

Father Rafleix says : (1) "The country of the Cayugas is the most beautiful I have seen in America. 
It is a continuous plain situated between two lakes (2), whose borders are covered with noble trees 
without underbush, and so far apart that they admit of easy passage. The lakes supply fish, and the 
forests and plains great quantity of game. More than one thousand deer are killed here every year, 
and Lake Tiehero (3), which adjoins our village, is covered in the winter and spring with geese, swan 
and other fowl. About ten miles from our village are four salt water fountains, where the Indians 
spread nets and capture great numbers of pigeons." 

The country of the Senecas was a vast open plain extending from the borders of Lake Ontario 
to the hills and forests of the present Schuyler and Steuben counties; and this plain was very fertile 
and was covered in the early summer season with grass nearly as tall as a man, (4) but studded along 
the borders of the lakes and banks of the streams with fine chestnut and walnut groves. West of 
the Genesee River to the Niagara the country was an unbroken forest of beech, maple, oak, elm, bass- 
wood and hemlock on the high lands; of ash and cedar in the low lands; and pine along the rivers 
and streams. The wilderness was overrun with bear, deer, and smaller game, and was crossed in 
different directions by Indian trails which passed principally through swamps and low lands, except 
the great one along the ridge, near Lake Ontario, which extended from the Genesee, near Rochester, 
to the present site of Lewiston. The other great trail between the Genesee and Niagara rivers ran 
from the Genesee near Avon, through Leroy and Batavia, where it divided into two branches, one 
running to Buffalo Creek and the other to Tonawanda. 

The early missioners thought the climate was mild and salubrious, with about the same changes 
in temperature as the climate of France. The Seneca country at this period, the most western of the 
Iroquois cantons, was all east of the Genesee River. 

The population of the five nations, when the missionaries first went amongst them, was between 
25,000 and 30,000 (5). The Iroquois received from the French the name by which they have been 
known to the civilized world. In listening to speeches they express satisfaction or approval at the 
termination by the syllable "lio," or "Eoh," which signified Amen; and the orator ended his speech 
by a syllable which sounded to French ears like "quois"— "I have spoken;" hence the word Iroquois (6). 
They were known, however, among themselves and to other Indians as the Konoshioni, or Otinnon- 
sionni, which signified a complete cabin, a name derived from the league which existed among the 
Five Nations (7). 

The French named these different nations: Agniers, Oneiouts, Onontagues, Goiogoens, and 
Tsonnontouans; but the English colonists gave them the names by which they are known to us: the 
Mohawks, the Oneidas, the Onondagas, the Cayugas, and the Senecas. 

The Kahquahs were called the Neuter Nation from their neutrality in the Iroquois-Huron war. 
They were also called Attiwanderons, which signifies a people speaking a httle different language. 
In the map of Decreux the country east of Niagara River, between Lake Ontario and Lake Erie, is 
called "Pagus Ondieronii," the country of the Ondieronons, and as the spelling is very bad this is 
evidently intended to express the country of the Kahquahs or Neuter Nation. Bressani says that this 
map is correct, but that the spelling is abominable. v 

(1) Relations, 1672. 

(2) Lakes Cayuga and Owasco. 

(3) Lake Cayuga. 

(4) Journal of Galince and Dolier. 

(5) Relations, 1660. 

(6) Schoolcraft, "Iroquois." 

(7) This name may have originated from the custom, existing among the Iroquois, of buildmg long cabms to 
accommodate four, six, eight or ten families. These cabins, or houses, were fifty or sixty feet long, and the families 
dwelt on each side of the house with a fire in the center to accommodate every four families. 


Theii territory was about one hundred and fifty miles in extent (1) and lay between the Hurons 
and the Iroquois on both sides of the Niagara River, but their principal villages were west of the Nia- 
gara. Before 1650 they had four villages east of Niagara, one at West (2) Seneca, one at Lewiston, 
or neaJ Ontario Lake, and the others perhaps near Buffalo; but in that year those villages, as well 
as those of the entire nation, were destroyed by the Iroquois and their inhabitants slain or led cap- 
tives to the Iroquois country. 

These Indians lived in cabins or huts of a single apartment, built in the shape of a camping tent, 
with an aperture in the top, which served as a chimney; and these cabins, in their villages, were arranged 
into well-ordered and comparatively clean streets. 

They celebrate six regular festivals during the year, beginning with the festival of the New Year, 
when the February new moon is five days old, and ending with the harvest festival in autumn. Some 
of these festivals are celebrated for several days, and are observed as a semi-religious, semi-social 
duty, in which all the people take part; and they are solemnized with banquets, speeches, dances, and 
song. Invitations to the banquets are given by placing grains of corn on pieces of wood upon the 
mat in the cabins of those to be invited, and at the same time telling them to come, whilst a crier pro- 
claims through the village the place and the hour. The guests are seated on mats or skins around the 
cabin, according to their rank and age. These Indians are called copper colored; yet, Lafitau (3) 
says they are born white as Europeans, but the habit of going about almost naked and of greasing their 
bodies, together with the action of the sun and air, gives them this peculiar copper hue. They surpass 
(4) white men in physical qualities, being tall, well formed, well proportioned, active and strong. 
They are endowed with good animal spirit, and are gifted with lively imagination, fair intelligence and 
admirable memory. 

At the period of the advent of Europeans the Five Nations, with their different clans, were banded 
together in the closest and most admirable form of political and civil union (5). 

(1) The fishing was good; and there was a great abundance of game; deer, bear, buffalo, wild turkey, wolves and 
wild cats. 

(2) Champlain's map of 1612. 

(3) Lafitau was a learned Jesuit who spent seven years among the Iroquois at Sault St. Louis, but he obtained 
most of his knowledge of the customs and life of the Indians from Gamier, who spent nearly sixty years among the 
Indians. Parkman says he is the best authority on Indian customs and life, because he knew the Indians when their 
manners and life were purely Indian, and before they had been changed by associating with Europeans. 

(4) Lafitau. 

(5) Many claim that the Iroquois proposed their confederation to the colonies as a model form of government 
long before the revolution. Schoolcraft. 

Perhaps the framers of our Constitution are indebted to the wisdom which inspired the forrnation of the Iroquois 
League. The admission of new states with equal rights is a doctrine of tlie Iroquois Grand Council. 



jHE Iroquois did not haul their fire-wood to the towns, like their more civilized white brethren, 
but moved their towns close to the wood; so there was no permanency to their homes. 
The names, too, of their villages changed as they were removed to different sites, because 
it was a peculiarity of Indian nomenclature to name places after topographical features; 
and they sometimes gave their towns the name of a prominent chief. The Indians, more- 
over, had no written language; and their names must sound in various forms to ears unaccustomed to 
their speech, as a word in any strange tongue is difficult to pronounce or comprehend. 

The Mohawks, the first and the most easternly situated of the Five Nations, at the time of Father 
Jogues' visit (1), had three large villages located in the beautiful valley of the Mohawk, on the south 
bank of the Mohawk River, and west of the Schohairie River. Ossernenon (2) was situated on an 
eminence a httle west of the junction of the Schoharie vidth the Mohawk, near the present Auriesville. 
Andagaron was about ten miles west of Ossernenon. Tionnontoguen, the capital, was about twelve 
miles west of Andagaron, directly east of Flat Creek, near the site of the present town of Sprakers. 
There was also a fourth village located some miles west of Tionnontoguen, at the time of the captivity 
of Father Jogues (3). 

Smallpox wrought great havoc in these towns about the years 1660-61, and the inhabitants moved 
westward from the plague spots. 

In October, 1666, De Tracy came through the forests vidth his army of Indians and French to 
humble the fierce Mohawks, and to destroy their towns. The Mohawks fled at the approach of the 
French; the torch was appUed to their towns, and the charred embers and burnt corn alone indicated 
the location of their former dwellings. They rebuilt their towns on the north side of the river; and 
they erected a strong stockade around the easternmost town, as a protection against the French and 
their old enemies from the region of Manhatta. The towns remained in their new positions during 
the years of the missions, and although time has effaced nearly all traces of the eastern door of the 
Long Cabin, yet General Clark has succeeded in pretty certainly locating their sites. 

Wentworth Greenhalgh, who made a journey through the Iroquois country in May and June, 
1677, reports the following names and locations of the Mohawk villages: "Cahaniaga is double 
stockadoed, .... and is situate upon the edge of an hill, about a bow shott from the river side. 
Canagora is situated upon a flatt, a stone's throw from ye water side. Canajorha, the Uke situacion, 
only about two miles distant from the water. Tionondogue is situated on an hill, a bow shott from 
ye river. The small village lyes close by the river side, on the north side, as do all the former." 

The Oneidas were originally members of the Onondaga nation, but they separated from the 
parent community before the advent of Europeans. They first dwelt on the southern shore of the 
lake that bears their name, near the mouth of Oneida Creek. They moved farther up the valley 
before the period of the missions, and located near the present site of Oneida Castle. They evidently 
moved again in 1676, as Greenhalgh found them in a newly settled town the next year; and this town 
was later stockaded, and was called Kunawaloa (4). 

Greenhalgh says: "The Oneidas have but one town, which lyes about 130 miles westward of 
the Maques (Mohawks). It is situate about twenty miles from a small river which comes out of the 
hills to the southward, and runs into Lake Teshirogue (Oneida), and about thirty miles distant from 
the Maques River, which lyes to the northward. The town is newly settled, double stockadoed, but 
little cleared ground so that they are forced to send to the Onondagoes to buy corn; the towne consists 
of about one hundred houses. Their corne grows round about the towne." 

(1) 1642. 

(2) This is the place where Renfi Goupil was slain, and the people of the same town afterwards put the saintly 
Jogues to deatli. 

(3) Martin, "Life of Father Jogues, " p. 92. 

(4) Schoolcraft. This was probably at Stockbridge, Madison County. 


Onondaga was the central nation of the Iroquois, and the capital of the league; and here was 
the great council house to which the delegates of the Five Nations came to discuss affairs of state. 
The capital had a regular order of streets, which were comparatively clean, for an Indian town. It 
was situated on an elevation, now called Indian Hill, between the ravines formed by the west and 
middle branches of Limestone Creek, in the town of Pompey, two miles south of Manlius. 

It was to this place that Fathers Chanmonot and Dablon came in the fall of 1655, as the first 
missionaries to the Iroquois. It was here, also, that the first chapel was built in the State of New York. 
It was built in one day, November 18, 1655 ; and was immediately sanctified by the baptism of three 
Indian children (1). 

There was a little hamlet on the eastern shore of Onondaga Lake, at Liverpool, where the French 
colony was located, and where the beautiful little chapel of our Lady of Ganentaa was built, near the 
salt springs, which were afterwards known as the "Jesuits' Well." 

There were three villages in the Cayuga country pleasantly situated on the borders of Lake Cayuga, 
or on the banks of the Seneca River. Cayuga (St. Joseph's), the principal village, was situated about 
three and one-half miles south of Union Springs, near Great Gully Brook (2). Tiehero was ten miles 
distant, on the east side of Seneca River, at the northern extremity of Seneca Lake. A smaller village, 
Onontare (St. Rene), was situated at a place known as Fort Hill, in the town of Savannah, Wayne 

The Cayugas were at continual war with the powerful Andastes, from the region of the Susque- 
hanna; and many of them left their pleasant homes near Lake Tiehero (3), in 1665, and removed to 
the northern shores of Ontario Lake, where they would be free from the attacks of their enemies. 
These emigrants were probably from the smaller villages of Tiehero and Onontare, as these were 
weaker and more liable to attack. They gradually came back to their old homes; and in 1676 they 
had built new towns near Tiehero Lake, about a mile eastward of Cayuga. Here Greenhalgh found 
them in 1677. "The Cayugas," he says, "have three townes about a mile distant from each other; 
they are not stockadoed. They intend the next spring to build all their houses together and stockade 
them; they have abundance of corne; they lye within two or three miles of the Lake Tiehero." 

The Senecas occupied the valley of the Genesee, and their territory extended to the lands of the 
Onondagas in the east, and to the Cayugas in the south; whilst the Genesee River at this time formed 
the western Hmit of their domain. They had four large villages, which formed the angles of a square, 
and they also had several hamlets, which were located in different places, for convenience in hunting 
and fishing. Their villages were situated about twenty miles from Lake Ontario, which was reached 
by trails to the head of Irondoquoit Bay; and great trails led from their towns to the neighboring 

Blacksmith, an old Seneca chief, gave the names, and described the location of the villages for 
Mr. Marshall (4) as he had learned them from the traditions of his race. The villages were : Ga-o-sa- 
eh-ga-aah, at Boughton Hill, south of Victor; De-yu-di-haah-do, about ten miles south of Rochester- 
Chi-nos-hah-geh, four miles southeast of Victor; Deodonset, five miles southeast of Avon Springs; 
The names, however, which the missionaries used to designate these villages were probably derived, 
from the Mohawk tongue, and were: Gannagaro, or Gandagaro (St. James'); Gandachioragou 
(Immaculate Conception); Gannougarae, or Gandougarae (St. Michael's); Gannounata (St. John's). 

Gannagaro was a very large village of about 150 houses; and had a population of 2,000 or 3,000, 
as each long house was the home of from two to six famiUes. It was situated on a large hill, called 
Boughton Hill (5), which rises immediately south of the little station at Victor on the Auburn branch 
of the New York Central Railroad. 

About one mile and a quarter westerly, on an eminence, called by the early settlers "Fort Hill," 
was a fortified enclosure, which could be used as a place of protection for women and children in case 
of an attack on Gannagaro. 

Gannagaro was called St. James' by the Jesuits; and it was Ga-o-sa-eh-ga-aah in the Seneca 
tongue. The Rev. James Pierron came here in 1672, as the first resident missionary. 

Gannougarae, or Gandougarae, was about four miles southward of Gannagaro, on the banks 
of a stream called Mud Creek, in the northeast part of the present town of East Bloomfield. It was 

(1) Relations, 1656, p. 20. 

(2) Hawley, "Cayuga. " It was here the first chapel was built. 

(3) Lake Cayuga. 

(4) Marshall, "First Visit of LaSalle. " 

(5) It was most probably located farther southward, at the time of the missions. 


called St. Michael's by the Jesuits, and was composed almost entirely of Huron, Neuter, and Onnon- 
tioga captives. A large number of these Hurons were Christians (1); and it was here that Father 
Fremin established his residence in the fall of 1669. A chapel was soon built, and Father Fremin said 
his first mass here November 3, 1669. 

In the language of the Senecas it was called "Chi-nos-hah-geh," which means "on the slope of 
the valley." The town was destroyed by fire in the spring of 1671; but was soon rebuilt, probably 
on another site, two miles nearer the village of Gannagaro. 

Another large town, wliich has been called by various names, was situated about ten miles west 
of Gannagaro, in a large bend of the Honeoye Creek, north of the present village of West Mendon (2). 
Although there seems to be some confusion of names among authorities on the subject, yet this appar- 
ently was the Gandachioragou of the Jesuits, the Tagarondies of Hennepin, the Totiakton of Denon- 
ville, and the Deyudihaakdah of the Senecas. It was at one time the most populous of the Seneca 
towns; the houses were very large, being fifty or sixty feet in length, with room for ten or twelve fami- 
lies in each house. 

Many vestiges of former Indian towns have been found at Lima, and also on the main road between 
Lima and Honeoye Falls. These places were known to the early settlers as Indian burial grounds, 
and many relics have been found to show that they were formerly the sites of Seneca towns (3). 

Gandachioragou was very probably the Seneca capital ; and it was situated on a hill at, or a little 
north of, Lima. It was here that Father Garnier located, and spent nearly twenty years of missionary 
life. The town was sometimes called Tagorondies, because this was the name of the chief. It was 
also called Totiakton; but as this is the Iroquois word for trout, (4) this name may have been given 
to the town when it was moved to the banks of Honeoye Creek, which is noted still as the place of the 

There was a fourth village, called Ganuaunata by Denonville and Dyudoosot by the Senecas, 
which was located (5) a few miles south of Gandachioragou, but the furrows of the ploughman, and 
the dwellings of the palefaces have covered up the vestiges of the Sonnontouan towns. There was 
no chapel at this village, but the Fathers often came here on their ministrations of mercy and grace. 

When LaSalle and Galinee came to Gandagaro, in 1669, the town was enclosed by a palisade, 
but when Greenhalgh came, in 1677, not one of the Seneca towns was thus fortified; so the location 
of the town was changed during this period (6). 

After the country was devastated by Denonville, the eastern Seneca towns moved eastward toward 
Canandaigua and Geneva, and the western group moved south and west towards the Genesee (7). 
There was a small village of Senecas near the mouth of Niagara River, on the Canadian side, although 
they probably dwelt on the New York State side at an earlier period. 

There was a town of an independent tribe, called the "Oniasonts," at Bemus Point, on Lake 
Chautauqua; but these were most likely an offshoot of the Fries. 

(1) Many beads and crosses have been found in this vicinity. 

(2) Marshall, "Expedition of Denonville. " This was the site in 1688. 

(3) The Rev. Dr. Quigley, of St, Joseph's Cathedral, Buffalo, whose boyhood home was at Lima, often visited these 
places; and he says that the lower part of Academy Hill, at Lima, was an Indian burial ground, and there was another 
a mile north of the town on the road to Honeoye Falls. 

(4) Some authorities claim this word means "bending, " but in either case it would indicate the same place. The 
town was also called Sonnontouan. 

(5) Doty locates it on the Douglas farm, two miles north of Livonia Station. "History of Livingston County. " 

(6) There is some evidence that this town was located just north of Victor at the time of LaSalle's visit, and that 
it was some time later removed to Boughton Hill, j 

(7) General Clark. 



!HE Indians of North America had no written language, no hieroglyphics, no symbols to 
perpetuate the events or theories of the past; so their religious beliefs, as well as historical 
lore, were traditional, were recited in their councils by their old men, preservers of the 
faith, for the instruction and edification of the young: and although they were endowed 
with tenacious and admirable memories, yet it is evident that their religious faith must 
necessarily change and assume a different phase according to the characteristics of the individuals 
and the circumstances of life. 

The first foundation of their religious belief is the same as that which formed the principal features 
of the religion of the Barbarians who first occupied Greece, and spread through Asia, and which forms 
the ground work of all Pagan Mythology (1). 

They had only a general, confused, and indistinct knowledge of the Supreme Being, Creator, 
and Ruler of the universe. Thohoroniawagon was their nearest approach to God; and he was to 
their mind one who embraced the heavens, who was happy in himself, and indifferent to the affairs 
of this world. 

The Indian God had nothing to do with morality or justice among men, and they believed that 
their race was under the direct control of subordinate spirits; and these were good and evil as they 
brought good or bad luck, health and plenty, and disease, famine or death (2). Many of the tribes 
confound Thohoroniawagon with the sun; and although they believe that he once dwelt on the earth, 
yet have no apotheosis of men, nor do they worship any star or planet but the sun, which they call 
the god of day. 

They have but a very confused notion of Creation, and they give many fantastic and ridiculous 
explanations of the beginning of life and the formation of the world. 

The Senecas say that in the far distant past waters covered the entire earth; and tliousands of 
ducks of every plumage swam upon the surface of the water. One morning, when the sun was bright, 
a beautiful woman appeared in the sky; as she was falling towards the waters the ducks held a coun- 
cil and resolved to spread out their wings and break the force of the fall. The ducks also called a turtle 
from the deep so the woman might have a place to alight, and they spread over the back of the turtle 
a slime from which a green spot soon appeared, which grew larger and larger until the earth was 
formed. This woman had two sons: one, the author of everything good; the other, the author of 
everything noxious or evil (3). 

Like most of the Oriental nations, the Iroquois worshipped the sun, Agreskoue, which was also 
the god of war, and to which they made offerings of porcelain beads, ears of corn, and animals taken 
in the hunt. Although they did not worship fire, yet it was for them a sacred emblem, and was con- 
tinually burning in their council houses to the end, how warm soever the weather might be. 

They believed also in the existence of multitudes of inferior spirits which they called manitous — 
a kind of subtle, quasi-spiritual species of genii — which inhabited the forests and streams, the rivers 
and lakes, the mountains and caves, the meadows and the moorlands, and every place of unusual 
strangeness or beauty. These manitous presided over the destinies of men; and the Indians often 
invoked their aid for success in fishing, in hunting, and in war, often making a direct appeal to the 
presiding genius of the woods or the waters to crown their efforts. They believed that these manitous 
resided in birds and in animals; and that they controlled the elements, and when in an angry mood 
gave fury to the storm, or when in a happier mood gave the pleasant, delightful weather. 

Every Indian had a particular manitou, which each one selected by fasting for eight days, and 
at the end of this fast whatever first came to mind was a symbol of his manitou, or Okki. The manitous 

(1) Lafitau. 

(2) Parkman. 

(3) Sanborn. 


manifested their will and pleasure in dreams, and the Indians believed that they were under a most 
solemn and sacred duty to do whatever was revealed to them in this manner, being ready to sacrifice 
their own lives or the lives of others to fulfill the commands of their manitou. 

They celebrate a festival of dreams, which is called "Onnon-hon-a-rori," the folly or the turning 
of the brain. During the festivities they dress in a fantastic manner; cover their faces with bark 
masks, and go about at night from cabin to cabin with torches, breaking whatever they can lay hands 
on and compelling people to give them objects they may fancy, or to do what they command to fulfill 
their dreams. They act like veritable demons, and many take advantage of this occasion to gratify 
their passions of hatred, lust, or revenge. 

The Iroquois believe in the existence of the soul as a spiritual entity, but they cannot exactly 
define its nature. They call it "Ganno-gonr-ha," and "Erienta;" but these appellations do not signify 
being, but action, as the former expresses the operations of spirit and mind, and the latter, the opera- 
tions of heart and will (1). They do not understand that the soul is purely spiritual, but a kind of 
Egyptian double, or shadow of one's self. They beheve that the soul is immortal, and that after death 
it will begin its long and weary journey to the happy hunting ground, or eternal home, far to the west- 
ward over rocky paths, through briars and thorns until it comes to a deep river where the only passage- 
way, a fallen tree, is disputed by an immense dog or beast that threatens to devour the soul, or cast 
it into the flood where it is whirled by the waters over precipices and rocks. After passing this river, 
the souls are judged and sent to a place of torments or delights, according as the individual was good 
or bad in this life. The delights of their heaven consists in good hunting, good fishing, in singing and 
dancing at eternal feasts in the presence of their gods. The virtues which merit such reward are 
bravery in war, sldll in hunting, and excessive cruelty to enemies and captives. The old and feeble, 
and little children who are unable to walk to the happy hunting ground, are heard sighing around the 
cabins in the moaning of the wind, in the soughing of the forest, and the rustling of the leaves. 

They believe also that the soul acts independently of the body, and makes long journeys at will, 
through the air, and to most hidden places; and, as it is a spirit, nothing can arrest its progress; yet 
it does not cease to animate the body, but makes these journeys when the body is asleep. This explains 
why they are so infatuated with dreams, as they beheve their dreams are actual occurrences, and are 
the doings of the soul while the body sleeps. 

They had the greatest veneration for their dead, and when a member of a family died all the rela- 
tives and friends assembled to mourn over the departed, whilst some chief made a funeral oration, in 
which he related the noble deeds of the dead, and all silently and sadly followed the remains to the 
grave, or to its resting place in the trees where it might receive sunsliine and air. Every ten years 
they held the festival of the dead (2), or the festival of souls, at some place selected by the council; 
and here at the appointed time assembled all the different clans and tribes and nations from hundreds 
of miles, bearing on their shoulders the remains of their dead. These Indians presented a weird sight 
as they wended their way through the forest, conveying the skeletons of their dead on their backs, 
and singing a low lamentation as they proceeded to the place of celebration. At this place banquets 
were given to noted guests, and games were played by the young people until the day appointed; and 
then all the dead were placed in a large pit lined with rich furs, and covered with earth so that a mound 
was formed. 

These people, however, were savages with all the cruel instincts of their race; for cruelty with 
them was a virtue as great as charity is among Christians; and they were cannibals, often devouring 
the flesh of their still living victims; nor had they ideas of moral relations or religious duty, except such 
as interest or self-preservation dictated. 

Such was the social, political, and religious life of the Iroquois and their Indian neighbors when 
the Recollect and Jesuit Missionaries came to them with the light of faith and the Gospel of Jesus 

(1) Lafitau. 

(2) Lafitau. 



|HE first vision of the white men may have awakened thoughts of wonder and astonishment 
in the minds of the Indians, but it does not seem to have aroused any feehng of hatred or 
resentment. Turner (1) says: "Savage in many respects yet kindest hospitahty from 
purest motives always extended to foreign guests; and perhaps the golden chord of friend- 
ship would forever have remained unbroken had the red man been the first to begin hos- 
tilities. 'Welcome English' (2), are words intimately associated with early American History." 

When Jacques Cartier was exploring the Gulf and River of St. Lawrence (3) in 1535, he learned 
from the Indians along the shore, of a great lake (Ontario) which emptied into the St. Lawrence; and 
of another river, in which there was a great cataract; and of a vast sea beyond all these. This was 
the first historical notice of this region; but Cartier did not ascend this river any further than the 
present site of Montreal. 

Unfortunately for the influence and the labors of the future missionaries, the first coming of the 
French to the Iroquois territory was on a hostile mission; and as the Indians never forgive an injury, 
this first unfriendly act had a baneful effect upon the subsequent relations of the Iroquois and French. 
The French and Dutch entered New York State about the same time, but from different directions; 
and while the Dutch made a treaty with the Iroquois which lasted till the English took possession of 
their country, the French came practically declaring war. 

The country immediately north and south of Lake Ontario was Neutral territory, and the mutual 
battle ground of different Indian nations (4). 

In 1609 the Montagnais induced Champlain to explore north of Lake Ontario and give battle 
to their old enemies, the Mohawks. Champlain left Quebec June 18th, with fifty Indians and two 
soldiers, and July 30th he attacked two hundred Mohawks near the present site of Ticonderoga, at the 
northern extremity of Lake George. Champlain fired his arquebus, killing two chiefs; the other 
soldiers also fired, and as this was the first exhibition of fire arms the Iroquois had witnessed they fled 
in confusion. This was the first greeting from the French. 

When Champlain reached Quebec after his third voyage to France he found Hurons, Algonquins, 
and Montagnais waiting for him to go on a grand expedition of war into the heart of the Iroquois 
country. Champlain, with his Indian allies, started in canoes up the River St. Lawrence in September, 
1615. When they reached Lake Ontario they crossed over to the south shore of the lake, concealed 
their canoes in the weeds and underbush along the beach, and started overland to a fortified town (5) 
of the Iroquois. On October 10, they attacked the town, which was so strongly fortified with inter- 
laced pahsades, thirty feet high, that they were unable to capture it, and were forced to retreat with 
considerable loss. 

The French at Quebec, and later at Montreal and Three Rivers, formed alliances with the Mon- 
tagnais, the Algonquins, and the Hurons; and established among them trading posts for furs, and the 
French Fathers established missions for their enlightenment and conversion. 

Missionaries accompanied the early explorers on all their important expeditions, as anxious and 
zealous for the salvation of souls as these lay explorers were to discover a northwest passage (6) to 
the wealth of the Indies. 

(1) History of the Holy Pilgrims. 

(2) Indians could not pronounce English, but in their mouth it became " Yengeish. " Hence, Yankee. 

(3) Which he named in honor of the Saint whose name it bears because discovered on his feast day, August 10, 

(4) "Narrative and Critical History of America. " 

(5) Marshall maintains that this tOT\'n was on Onondaga Lake. Clark and Shea contend that it was a few miles 
south of the east end of Lake Oneida. 

(6) The French believed that such a passage existed, and it was for the purpose of discovering this water route 
to China and the Indies that the expeditions of LaSaUe and other explorers were fitted out, and with the fxirther hope 
of thus acquiring wealth and fame. 


The Recollects, or Franciscans, were the first to enter the field; but they were soon followed by 
the Jesuits, whose sacrifices and labors on these Indian missions have gained the admiration, and 
merited the encomiums of writers professedly inimical to their Order. The Huron Missions were 
especially prosperous and successful; and although far removed from the scene of our story, yet they 
exercised a great influence upon the subsequent missions among the Iroquois. 

Missionaries (1) first went to the Huron country in 1615, and labored there with but slight inter- 
missions until 1649 and 1650, when the principal Huron villages were destroyed by the Iroquois, the 
missionaries were killed, and hundreds of the Hurons were led captives to the Iroquois cantons (2). 

Many of these were well instructed converts; ^and they brought to the land of the Iroquois the 
Christian truths they had learned from the Fathers. 

The journey from Quebec to the Huron country was very long and tedious, and the travelers were 
exposed to many dangers and hardships. They were obliged to follow the route of the Ottawa River 
through fear of the Iroquois, who lurked in every dangerous place to waylay their enemies. The 
distance from Quebec to the Huron country was about seven hundred miles, and many miles of the 
way they were obliged to carry their boats, with baggage and supplies for the missions, upon their 
shoulders, as in many places they were unable to follow the water course in their canoes. The mis- 
sionaries could not make this journey more than once a year, and sometimes two or three years might 
pass before they could descend to Quebec; so they planted wheat to make bread, and pressed the 
juice from the wild grapes of the country to make wine for the altar. These missionaries, however, 
wiUingly sacrificed the social intercourse and pleasures of civilized life for the love of God and the 
salvation of men. They had many prosperous and populous mission churches in the Huron villages 
before the fatal onslaught of the Iroquois, who burned the churches, killed or led captive hundreds of 
Christians, and practically destroyed the Huron Nation. Many of the Hurons who escaped sought 
refuge under the protection of the French at Quebec, where they might Uve and practice their religion 
in peace. 

As the French were in league with the enemies of the Iroquois, they did not come in friendly 
contact with the latter for nearly fifty years after Champlain landed at Quebec; yet there was no open 
act of hostility on either side till 1641. 

(1) Father Le Caron, Recollect. Recollects invited Jesuits to help them, and Fathers Brebeuf, Lallemont and 
Masse came in 1625. 

(2) About 700 captives were brought to the Iroquois country. 



In 1621, while Father Paulain was on an errand of mercy (1), following a trading party up 
the river to the rapids of St. Louis, he was captured by a roving band of Iroquois warriors, 
who shortly after exchanged him for some of their own people, prisoners near Quebec; 
but two of the Iroquois prisoners remained with the French, and were instructed in Chris- 
tianity. This was, perhaps, the first knowledge any of the Iroquois obtained of the 
Christian religion. 

Some historians (2) maintain that Father de la Roche D'Aillon, a Recollect, entered Western 
New York in the fall or winter of 1626, on a visit to the villages of the Neuter Nation situated east of 
Niagara River, but they offer no positive proof that he entered this region. 

It is true that he visited many villages of the Neuter Nation, and that he mentions the last village 
of the Neuters nearest to the Iroquois ; but in the letter (3) in which he gives an account of his visits 
he does not mention any journey to the Iroquois, neither does he state that he crossed Niagara River 
or passed over either lake. He also wished to discover the river leading to the Iroquois country, but 
the Hurons and Neuters would not guide or direct him, as they did not wish the Iroquois to trade with 
the French. 

D'Aillon left the Huron country October 18, 1626, in company with Grenole and Lavallee, French- 
men by birth, and, entering the territory of the Petun nation, he obtained a guide and Indians to carry 
his baggage and provisions. After five days' travel, sleeping at night under the protection of some 
tall tree of the forest, they entered the first village of the Neuters and passed on through four other 
villages, where the people vied with one another in their attentions to the strange visitors. They 
remained at the sixth village, where a council was held, and D'Aillon was adopted by the tribe, and 
was given in charge of Souharrisen, chief of the entire nation. 

There were twenty-eight villages of this nation, and seven or eight hamlets, located for convenience 
in hunting or fishing. One village called Onaroronon (4) was only one day's journey from the Senecas. 
The country was the most beautiful he had seen, and was overrun with deer, bear, and all kinds of 
wild game. The people were tall and well formed, and had no cripples or deformed among them. 
The village in which D'Aillon and his companions remained was called Onnontisaston, (5) and was 
very likely the capitol of the nation. He remained with the Neuters only three months, as the French 
then sent for him, fearing that his presence might provoke some hostile act on the part of those Indians, 
who did not understand his language or his mission. He did very little missionary work among them, 
as they were not disposed to accept his teaching in the absence of the chiefs who were then on the war- 
path; so he spent the greater portion of his time in learning their language and in visiting their villages. 

Another attempt at evangelizing the Kahqnahs, or Neuters (6), was made in 1640 and 1641, when 
the celebrated missionaries, Fathers Brebeuf and Chaumonot, S. J., visited their country, and remained 
several months among them, baptizing some of the sick and dying and instructing them in the truths 
of Christianity. The Relations of 1641, say: "We began this year a mission among one of the most 
powerful and important nations of this country. We had long since desired to establish this mission, 
but the difference of language and fewness of missionaries prevented us from undertaking this work." 
Fathers Brebeuf and Chaumonot left the Huron Mission of St. Mary's on Georgian Bay, November 2, 
1640, and on November 9th, they reached Kandacho, the first of the Neuter villages. From this place 
they proceeded to the central village, or capital of the nation, where they were kindly welcomed as 
guests and were given permission to teach; but their presents (7) were not accepted, as the chiefs 

(1) Le Clerq. "Establishment of the Faith. " 

(2) Bp. Timon. Shea, p. 225. -,, ^ ■, oco 

(3) This letter was written to a friend, but is preserved in the archives of the order. Le Clerq. Vol. 1, p. 263. 

(4) This was not only the name of a village but of an entire tribe or nation. See p. 4. 

(5) This was in center of nation. . 

(6) The missionaries gave these people the name Neuter, on account of their neutrality m the Huron-Iroquois Wars. 

(7) The exchange of presents meant a treaty or alliance. 


were absent in war. These Fathers state that they visited eighteen (1) of the forty villages of this 
nation, doing what spiritual work they could; but their presence soon awakened the suspicion (2) and 
mistrust of these people, and in the month of March they returned to the Hurons. 

Two years afterwards some of the zealous and enlightened Huron converts visited the Neuters 
to instruct and convert them. They were well received and attentively listened to, as the Indians 
had more confidence in them than they would have in Europeans, and their labors were not in vain 
as they prepared many of these people for admission into the Church, which took place some years 
later, when they were captives among the Iroquois. These zealous Huron Christians, no doubt, 
entered Western New York, and they went as far west as the Erie, or Cat Nation, whose territory 
extended along the southern shore of Lake Erie; yet, no permanent mission was ever established 
among the Kahquahs while they existed as a distinct nation. 

In the fall of 1641 about 200 Iroquois warriors descended the St. Lawrence and divided into two 
parties (3). One party intended to commit the first act of hostility against the French at Three Rivers, 
but as two of their chiefs died on the way, they considered this an evil omen and returned to their 
homes. The other party descended the river and attacked the Algonquins near Quebec, destroyed 
their homes, and carried off many of their prisoners to the Iroquois country. Some of the female (4) 
captives escaped in the early spring, and from them it was learned that the Iroquois were very anxious 
to know the strength of the French, and also the duty, office, and life of the Black Gowns, or Jesuit 
missionaries. The Iroquois could easily have destroyed the French colonies in Canada had they 
known their weakness. The entire army at this time at Quebec, Montreal, and Three Rivers, com- 
prised but 115 men (5). 

The first priest to come to the Iroquois country was Rev. Isaac Jogues, and he did not come as an 
accredited minister of Christ, or ambassador of the French, but as a prisoner of war. On the second 
day of August, 1642, twelve canoes (6) paddled by Christian Hurons and carrying Father Jogues, 
and two other Frenchmen (7), and Teresa, a young Huron girl who had been educated by the Sisters 
at Quebec, were moving rapidly over the waters of the St. Lawrence at one of its expansions called St. 
Peter's Lake, when they were suddenly fired upon from the shore by a roving band of Iroquois warriors. 
The suddenness of the attack confused the Huron party, and most of them were taken prisoners, 
while some escaped through the thick forest that lined the shore. One of the Hurons was killed, and 
his flesh was roasted and eaten by the Iroquois. Father Jogues might have escaped, but he thought 
that duty called him to remain with his Huron neophytes, some of whom were not yet baptized, as he 
expected they would be tortured or put to death; and he wished to be near to share their fate, to console 
them, and prepai'e them in their last hour for a Christian death. 

The Iroquois hurried across the St. Lawrence to the Richelieu, or Iroquois River, where they 
halted to divide the spoils. These captives were hurried off towards the Mohawk villages, and at the 
southern end of Lake Champlain (8) they met a war party of Iroquois encamped on an island, and the 
poor captives were obliged to run the gauntlet between two files of these warriors who were armed with 
clubs, sticks, or other weapons, and aimed vigorous and well-directed blows at the unfortunate prisoners 
as they ran along the line. 

Father Jogues was not only beaten into insensibility by the blows, but his fingers were burned 
with live coals, and lacerated by the teeth of these savages; yet, this holy man seemed to grieve more 
over the tortures of his companions than he did over his own sufferings. After leaving the island other 
war parties were met, and on each occasion similar tortures were inflicted on these unfortunate victims, 
as the Iroquois considered cruelty to captives a happy omen of success in war. 

(1) They call the Niagara River "Onguiahra," from a village on its banks of same name. Samson, in his map of 
1656, calls it Ongiara. Father Hennepin, in his map of 1682, was the first to write it Niagara. It is not probable that 
they entered the present state of New York (though nearly all historians claim they did), because the villages of this 
Nation east of the Niagara River were the farthest away, and because Brebeuf was accused of intending to visit the 
Senecas to bring them to destroy the Neuters, and the Fathers did not wish to give them any foundation for such an 

(2) Pagan Hurons had told the Neuters that the missionaries were sorcerers and would bring disease and mis- 
fortune to their Nation, and as the Jesuits' lives were so different from the Indians, these stories were readily believed; 
and hence their briaveries, their ink and pen, and, more especially, their writings became a source not only of wonder 
but of alarm to the Indian mind. The Fathers could not say mass in that country on account of this mistrust. 

(3) Parkman. 

(4) Their children were roasted and eaten by these cannibals. 

(5) Manuscript in the Louvre Library. 

(6) Martin, "Life of Father Jogues." 

(7) Ren^ Goupil and William Couture. 

(8) Champlain gave his name to the lake when he came with the Montagnais to give battle to the Mohawks. 


The prisoners were brought to the Mohawk villages where the most cruel tortures that these 
savages could devise were inflicted on them until they were so exhausted, and in such agony, that even 
death would be a relief; yet, they were consoled by the example and the presence of the holy Jesuit, 
who was ready at a given signal to impart absolution and his last blessing to the dying Christian Hurons 
or French. Rene Goupil (1), Father Jogues' companion, and a very holy young man, was killed 
shortly after their arrival, near one of the Mohawk villages, a martyr to his faith and zeal; as it was 
on account of his teaching the children the rudiments of Christianity, and instructing them to make 
the sign of the cross (2) that he was put to death. 

Rene Goupil's death was a severe loss to Father Jogues, who found one of the greatest comforts 
of his captivity in the hours of conversation and prayer in company with this young man, roaming 
through the vast forests, or kneeling at the base of some lofty tree, on which they had carved a rude 
symbol of the cross to remind them of the greater sufferings of their Lord and Master; but now the 
holy missioner's only conversation was with God in prayer, when he could steal away for a few hours 
from the drudgery of his slave life in the village. As the Mohawks began to treat him more kindly 
he gave much of his time to the acquisition of their language; for he hoped some day to be able to 
teach these people the truths of Christianity, and to lead them to God. He was obliged to accompany 
hunting and fishing parties, to prepare wood for their fires, and to carry loads of their fish and game; 
but he performed this labor the more willingly as it gave him greater liberty to spend many hours in 
prayer in some secluded spot, where he erected a diminutive bark or brush chapel, which concealed 
his presence from these savages, and left him free to commune with God. Whilst on one of these 
fishing expeditions, on the Hudson, near Rensselaerswyck (S), he was advised by the Dutch to make 
his escape in a vessel which was soon to sail for Europe; and he was the more readily induced to take 
this step as he learned the Mohawks intended to put him to death when he returned to their village. 
His first attempt, however, at escape was frustrated by the Indians; but, after many weeks of hiding, 
and of negotiations between the Dutch and the Mohawks, he finally reached Manhattan (4), whence 
he sailed for Europe. 

Father Jogues visited different villages and baptized about seventy during the period of his cap- 
tivity, so his fate was not so dismal, but had its rays of hope and joy; and although his hands were 
fearfully mutilated, yet he rejoiced that he was able to use them in the work of his Divine Master. He 
was the first priest to administer the sacraments of the Church within the bounds of the present State 
of New York, as there were no Catholics then in the State, except two that he found at Manhattan 
when he arrived there in September, 1643, having escaped from the Mohawks through the assistance 
of the Dutch at Albany. 

(1) He had studied medicine but desired to become a Jesuit. 

(2) The Dutch had told the Moliawlis that the sign of the cross was evil, and brought misfortune. Martin, "Life 
of Jogues. " 

(3) Albany. 

(4) New York. 



BO bold and insidious had the Iroquois become, and so frequently did they attack stray parties 
of Hurons and French, that the latter did not dare go on a fishing or hunting expedition, 
or even till the soil, through fear of the roving bands of these warriors, who would often 
lie in ambush for days at a time in some deep ravine, dense forest, or tall grass, to surprise 
and slay their unsuspecting enemies. Gov. Montmagny resolved to remove some of this 
danger from the colonists, and put a check upon the depredations of these savages. He therefore 
sent one hundred men, with Father Vimont as chaplain, to build a fort on the Richelieu River, on the 
route between the St. Lawrence and the Mohawk country. They selected a site on August 13, 1642, 
only ten days after the capture of Father Jogues and his companions near a spot which still bore sad 
evidence of the capture and of the cruelty of the Mohawks, for the heads of some of the Hurons were 
still dangling from poles driven in the ground; and rude pictures were found traced upon the bark of 
trees, delineating the victory of the Iroquois. Before beginning the fort all assisted at mass, which 
was said by Father Vimont. 

The Iroquois were the scourge (1) of the infant church in the western world, and by their desultory 
warfare they practically cut off all communication between Quebec and the Huron missions. They 
were the scourge also of the French colony, destroying the trade in furs upon which the colonists ex- 
pected to thrive; and agriculture was impossible in the presence of such savage and relentless foes. 
The colony (2) must fail, if its existence depended upon commercial or business success, but religion 
came to its aid, and what trade could not effect faith accomplished. The interest and zeal of the 
wealthy nobles and ladies of France were awakened in behalf of the missions of the New World, and 
as early as 1635 the liberality of these pious persons enabled the Jesuits to establish at Quebec an 
hospital for the sick, a seminary for Indian boys, and a convent for Indian girls, while the place was 
still a mere hamlet (3). The "Society of Montreal" was composed of about forty zealous Catholics, 
and they were organized for the purpose of propagating the faith and founding a Catholic colony in 
New France. These institutions contributed greatly towards the conversion of the savages; for the 
charity displayed at the hospital was not soon forgotten, and the example and instruction given in 
the convents made a favorable and lasting impression upon the minds of the young Indians. 

In April, 1644, as Father Bressani and some young Hurons, who had been at the seminary of 
Quebec, were on their way up the river to the Huron country, they were surprised by a band of Iroquois 
near the same place where Father Jogues was captured two years before (4) ; and they were hurried 
off to be tortured in the Iroquois country. At Saratoga Lake they met a large fishing party, and the 
prisoners were compelled to run the gauntlet between rows of these savages who beat them with clubs 
or stones, or hacked them with their rude knives. They were then placed on a platform stripped of their 
clothing, and forced to sing and dance for the delectation of this savage throng; and, whilst the blood 
flowed from their lacerated limbs, the Iroquois applied new instruments oftorture to make the dance 
of their captives more like their own wild orgies. The prisoners were taken through the different 
Mohawk villages, where they were subjected to many other indignities ; but the life of Father Bressani 
was spared, and he was given to a family who sold him to the Dutch at Albany. 

In the spring of 1645 the French released some of the Iroquois who had been prisoners at Quebec; 
and July 5, 1645, some of these former captives, vsdth the celebrated chief Kiotsaeton as their leader, 
and bringing with them William Couture, who was captured with Father Jogues in 1642, arrived at 
Three Rivers to make a treaty of peace with the French and their Indian allies. The Governor came 
up from Quebec, and delegates were also sent to the proposed council by the Algonquins, the Montag- 

(1) Relations, 1642. 

(2) Faillon, "Colonies Francaise. " 

(3) Parkman, p. 178. 

(4) On the St. Lawrence near St. Peter's Lake 

Rt. Rev. JOHN TIMON, D. D. C. M. 



Most Rev. JAMES EDWARD QUIGLEY, D. D. Archbishop of Chicago. 

Right Reverend CHARLES HENRY COLTON, D. D,, 
Bishop of Buffalo. 

Delaware Avenue, Buffalo. 

Vicar General. 



Very Rev. Nelson H. Baker, President. 


And Home for the Protection of Destitute and Homeless Catholic Children and St. Joseph's Orphan Asylum under Our 

Lady of Victory's care. West Seneca. Very Rev. Nelson H. Baker, Superintendent. 


nais, the Allikemegues, and the Hurons. These representatives of different nations and races assem- 
bled for the first time in their history to cement the bonds of friendship, and a most inspiring scene 
they presented. Sails were taken from the vessels in the river to make a tent; and poles were erected 
by the Iroquois, on which were hung the seventeen belts of wampum, representing the articles of their 
treaty and the wishes of their people. Father Lallemant, the Superior of the missions, was to represent 
the Church, but as he did not return from the Huron country. Father Vimont took his place. 

The Governor and his suite, and the Jesuit Father, the representatives of European civilization, 
and the Church, took their places at one end of the awning-covered space, and the Indian allies of the 
French seated themselves in a circle; whilst the tall and graceful Iroquois chief most eloquently told 
the purport of his mission, and with song and dance manifested the joy of his people, and, with most 
appropriate gestures, portrayed their future friendly relations, or erased from their memory past 
hostile deeds, and sealed his sincerity with belts of wampum. The Governor afterwards spoke for 
the French and their Indian allies, and gave presents to the Iroquois as a sign of good will. 

This council was only a preliminary step towards peace, as these proceedings should be sanc- 
tioned by larger representations from the different nations. They assembled, therefore, at Three 
Rivers, in September, to the number of 400, and watched the arrival of the Iroquois delegates, who 
were received with military honor; whilst their old enemies, the Hurons and Algonquins, looked on 
with feelings of hatred and distrust, yet, with admiration for their lithe and graceful forms and warlike 
bearing. The usual pledges were given at this council, and the missionaries rejoiced, perhaps more 
than any others, at the prospect of peace, as it meant for them greater security on their Huron missions, 
and the opening of a new and vast field for their zeal in spreading the Gospel. Father Lallemant says 
that it seemed to them more like a dream than reality; that after so many years of warfare they should 
not only have peace but a prospect of establishing a mission among these old enemies, which they intended 
to call the Mission of the Martyrs, on account of the many Christians already put to death by them, 
and because many more martyrs would probably be sent to heaven before this savage race could be 
converted to God. 

The Governor resolved to send two representatives to the Mohawks (1) to manifest his good will 
towards his new friends ; and as Father Jogues was present, and knew the Mohawk tongue, he very 
readily consented to go on this embassy, as he hoped to establish a mission there for the conversion of 
his former persecutors. 

Father Jogues, with four Mohawks and two Algonquins, left Three Rivers, May 16, 1646, as an 
ambassador to the people who formerly held him as a slave. At Saratoga Lake they met a fishing 
party of Mohawks, and with them was Theresa, the Huron, who had been educated in the convent at 
Quebec, and who was captured by the Mohawks in 1642, while returning to her home with Father 
Jogues and his party. The holy missionary heard her confession and gave her his blessing; and the 
poor captive was overjoyed with this favor, as it was the only religious consolation she had received 
in this Pagan land. 

Father Jogues went first to the Dutch settlement at Albany, and then proceeded to the first Mohawk 
village, Ossernonon, where a council was held and presents exchanged. The Father assembled the 
Christian captives, heard their confessions, and encouraged them to fidelity to their faith. At this 
village he left a small box containing a few articles necessary for his proposed mission; and this box 
was the cause of much evil suspicion and distrust among these savages, who believed that it contained 
an evil spirit that would blight their corn and spread disease among the people. 

(1) The route to the Mohawk country was along the St. Lawrence River to the Richeheu River, Lake Charaplain 
and Lake George. On his second visit Father Jogues named Lake George, "Lake of the Blessed Sacrament," as he 
discovered it on the Feast of Corpus Ghristi; and this name it retained for a century. 



IISSIONARIES had labored for nearly forty years among the Hurons, the Algonquins, and 
neighboring nations in the north of Canada, and along the shores of Georgian Bay, before 
the period of the Iroquois mission. In 1648 there were eighteen missionaries among the 
Hurons, four lay brothers, and some other Europeans who were interested in the fur trade. 
Deprived of all the comforts of civilized life, these missionaries devoted their lives to the 
enlightenment and evangelization of these poor, benighted barbarians; and their only regret seemed 
to be that they could not effect more good among them. "By night a bundle of fagots served them 
for a pillow, and their mantles formed their only covering. Their riieals were taken on the ground, 
while reclining on mats of rushes or seated on billets of wood. The earth or their knees furnished a 
table, and leaves of Indian corn were their only napkins. Knives they had, but they were useless ; for 
there was no bread to eat, and meat was so rare, that if by chance the Indians gave them a portion of 
their game, it was carefully laid aside and kept for Easter. Their ordinary food consisted of Indian 
sagamite or corn pounded between stones or in a wooden mortar, and boiled in water. Into this was 
thrown, to give it relish, some sweet majoram, purslain, or balm, and a kind of wild onion which they 
found in the woods. Their only drink was water from the brook, or the sap which they caught from 
the maple in their trough of bark. Wild grapes, bruised and pressed in a cloth over a bark vessel, 
furnished them wine for the mass or for medicinal purposes" (1). They rose at four o'clock in the 
morning and spent three hours in prayer, in meditation, and in celebrating mass. At eight o'clock 
they admitted the Indians to instruction, and afterwards they visited the cabins to instruct and baptize 
the sick. About five o'clock they closed the chapel and spent the evening in prayer and study, by 
the fitful light of pine or hemlock logs (2). 

On the morning of July 4, 1648, Father Anthony Daniel, who had charge of the Huron Mission 
of St. Joseph, had just finished mass, and his people were still engaged in their devotions when the 
alarm was given, and the cry "to arms" was heard (3). The dreaded Iroquois had come. The 
greatest confusion followed, and the terror-striken Hurons flocked around their spiritual Father for 
protection. The catechumens sought for baptism at the hands of the Jesuit, as a preparation for the 
certain death that awaited them. But the number was too large, and the danger too imminent to 
take them singly; so, dipping the handkerchief in water, he performed the rite upon the whole crowd 
by aspersion. Although the Hurons were brave warriors, yet they made no effort to defend their 
homes; the numbers of the enemy, the arguebuses with which they were armed, and the unexpected 
attack seeming to entirely dishearten them. 

The Iroquois burned and pillaged the homes of the Hurons and killed indiscriminately men, 
women, and children, throwing many of them into the flames as a more convenient and cruel form of death. 

Crowds hastened to the chapel where Father Daniel remained to console and encourage them. 
The enemy soon discovered this place of refuge, and with a wild whoop assembled to apply the torch 
to the chapel and the tomahawk to the defenseless Christians. Father Daniel was the first to fall, 
pierced with arrows, and his death made him the first Jesuit martyr of the Huron missions. Many 
escaped to neighboring villages; but about seven hundred were led captives to the Iroquois territory, 
and as many of these were well instructed converts, they constituted the first large body of Christians 
in the land of the Iroquois. 

On the night of March 16, 1649, a well armed body of about two thousand Iroquois ghded swiftly 
and noiselessly over the snow-covered ground to the Huron village of St. Ignace. Although the place 
was well situated for defense, and was fortified with palisades and a ditch, yet there were no sentinels 
or guards, and the Iroquois succeeded in effecting an entrance at the break of day, while the Hurons 
were wrapped in profound sleep. 

(1) Relations, translated by Marshall. 

(2) Parkman. 

(3) Relations. 


Of the four hundred inhabitants of this village but three escaped. All the others fell victims to 
the tomahawk, the arrow or the flames, or were reserved for more cruel tortures. The victorious 
Iroquois immediately hastened to the adjacent villages, where they continued their work of destruction, 
rapine, and slaughter. 

Savage and cruel as they were by nature, yet they seemed to act more like demons than human 
beings in the tortures they inflicted upon the defenseless Hurons and the Jesuit missionaries. They 
would bind their victims to stakes driven in the earthen cabin floors, and applying any convenient com- 
bustible material to their feet and bodies would start the fire; and wliile the odor of burning flesh 
ascended with the flames they would dance in savage joy, and with the groans of the dying they would 
mingle their demoniac yells of fiendish glee. They plucked out the eyes of some and in the vacant 
sockets put living coals; they put necldaces of heated iron or stone hatchets around the necks of others, 
or cut off pieces of flesh, roasted and devoured them while the victims were still living. This diabolical 
frenzy continued for three days when the Iroquois became panic-striken, and fled in confusion and 
disorder towards their homes, bearing with them much plunder and many captives. 

Two of the celebrated Jesuit missionaries. Fathers Brebeuf and Lallemant, perished in this con- 
flict, after enduring the most cruel torments. Shortly after, the Hurons, accompanied by the remaining 
Jesuits, abandoned their homes and bade farewell forever to their ancient domains. The lake which 
bears their name is the only remaining vestige of the once powerful and populous race that dwelt 
along its shores; and in its ceaseless ebb and flow, and storm-tossed waves it is a fitting symbolic 
memorial of this turbulent tribe of Indians. 

After the Iroquois' invasion they ceased to exist as a nation, and wandered away in different 
bands to seek a new home in the islands of the lake, or among some friendly nation. About 600 
descended to Quebec with Father Ragueneau, and settled on the Island of Orleans, under the protection 
of the French. 

The success of the Iroquois in their war with the Hurons emboldened them to attack their neigh- 
bors, the Kahquahs, (1) or Neuters; and so savage and persistent was the onslaught, that about the 
year 1651 they destroyed the entire nation, excepting some few who escaped, and some others whom 
they led in captivity to their own villages. They sent an army of 1,200 warriors to attack the frontier 
towns of the Neuters in the autumn of 1650; and they destroyed one of the large towns, where they 
massacred or mutilated the old, the infirm, and the infants, who would be of no use to them in their 
own land, and they led many captives across the border. The Neuters gathered all their warriors 
and transferred the scene of carnage to the land of the Iroquois. They succeeded in Idlling a large 
number of the Iroquois, probably near the Genesee River. The Iroquois patiently waited till spring, 
when their entire army of warriors crossed the border and made a savage attack upon the Neuter 
towns. They completely routed the Neuters, burned their town, and destroyed the entire nation. 
Many of the Neuters fled, like their Huron brethren, to the islands or bays of the West or South, to 
seek a new home among some friendly tribe, whilst many more meeldy followed their captors to strength- 
en their army or replenish their numbers. 

Some of the old Huron Christians had sought an asylum among the Neuters after the dispersion 
of their own people, and now that the arms of their friendly hosts are bound as Iroquois captives, they, 
too, follow voluntarily, and beg to be admitted as members of some of the clans of their old enemies. 

Some of the Fathers could see in tliis dispersion of the Christians the Providence of God, which 
thus paved the way for the propagation of the Gospel in the land of the Iroquois. 

For many years the Hurons. and other Christian captives were deprived of the sacraments and 
all spiritual ministrations of the missionaries; yet, the intelligent and zealous ones among them kept 
alive, by public prayers and exhortations, the spirit of faith and devotion. They assembled on Sun- 
days in some friendly cabin, and listened to the rehearsal of the teachings of the Jesuits, from the lips 
of some able and eloquent chief (2). 

Many of the Iroquois were favorably disposed towards Christianity from what they had seen and 
experienced of the ceremonies and institutions of the Church at Quebec, and were not inclined to 
interfere vtdth the devotions of their Huron slaves. 

(1) Because they offered an asylum to the Hurons. General Clark maintains that the Kahquahs and the Neuters 
were not identical, and the former were an independent tribe, dwelling on the south shore of Lake Erie, westward of the 
Neuter towns. He has discovered the vestiges of the Neuter towns, east of the Niagara, and has located them in almost 
a direct line east of Lewiston. One was situated a little east of Lewiston, another in the center of the town of Cambria; 
the third, one mile west of Lockport; the fourth, two miles west of Shelby Centre, Orleans Co. 

(2) Faillon. "Colonic Francaise." 



ilFFERENT parties of Iroquois made proposals of peace to the French, but, as they would 
not include the Indian allies of the latter in their treaty, friendly relations could not be 
established. The Onondagas and Oneidas, near neighbors, were the first to come with 
proposals of peace, and with presents as pledges of their sincerity. "(1) They made speeches 
invoking the sun to dissipate the clouds that obscured the light of mutual understanding 
and friendship, and they offered their belts of wampum to wipe away the tears shed over those slain 
in war; to cheer the heart after past sorrows; to cover the slain, so that thoughts of their loss might 
not be an obstacle to peace; and to cleanse the waters of the river soiled with the blood of their victims. 
The Senecas and the Cayugas also came pleading for peace, but the French would not conclude 
any treaty which did not include every one of the Five Nations, and also their own Indian allies. The 
Mohawks were still hostile, but finally sent a deputation to Quebec; and as these warriors witnessed 
the procession in honor of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin, in which 400 well armed, and well drilled 
French soldiers took part, they realized that these soldiers would make formidable foes, and that it 
would be to their own interests to join in the proposals of peace which the other four nations were 
making. The French, however, as a preliminary step towards peace, insisted on the restoration of 
Father Poncet, S. J., whom the Mohawks had captured in August, 1652. The Mohawks compHed, 
and brought the missioner back to Quebec, in November, 1652. The entire French colony then 
rejoiced at the prospective peace and consequent prosperity which would ensue from the removal of 
the great shadow of death which hung over the colony from the beginning, blighting every hope of 
religious advancement or commercial success. The hostile Iroquois had destroyed or dispersed the 
infant churches among the Hurons and the Algonquins, and had prevented the Missionaries from 
carrying the light of the Gospel to the populous nations of the South and West; but through the pros- 
pective peace these zealous Fathers could see vast fields of abundant harvests awaiting the laborers 
of the Lord. The French authorities were willing to make sacrifices and take great risks in order to 
secure peace, but they had very grave reasons to doubt the sincerity of the Iroquois. 

Father Poncet (2), who had just returned from the Mohawk country, was fully convinced that 
these people were sincere; but the Hurons at the Island of Orleans firmly believed (3) that the Iroquois 
intended, under the cloak of peace, to induce themselves and some French to emigrate to their country 
so they could more easily disarm and torture them, make them slaves, or put them to death. They 
asked for missionaries (4), but they well knew that the Hurons were Catholics and would not leave 
their own homes unless priests accompanied them. One good effect produced by these preliminaries 
of peace was the offering by the Onondagas of a belt to the French in February, 1654, by which they 
pledged themselves to bury forever the caldron of war, in which they boiled human flesh (5) which 
they afterwards devoured. It was judged necessary to send an envoy or embassador to the Iroquois 
country, and Father Le Moyne was selected for this delicate mission. He started, therefore, from 
Montreal, July 17, 1654, in company with some Iroquois, the first messenger of peace to these savage 
people. The journey up the river was long and toilsome, wading at times waist deep in the water, 
and dragging their boats through the rapids and between the rocks, sleeping at night under trees or 
under their light canoes as a shelter from the rain, or carrying their boats and baggage over the por- 
tages on their shoulders. They had, however, the charming view of the virgin forest, and the enchant- 
ing scene of the Thousand Islands, inhabited by deer (6), and other game, to relieve the monotony 

(1) Relations, 1653. 

(2) Relations, 1653. 

(3) Relations, 1654. 

(4) Faillon. 

(5) Relations, 1654. The Iroquois were canibals only in war, or torturing an enemy; as then they devoured the 
flesh of their victims as a greater mark of their cruelty, or to acquire their spirit of bravery. 

(6) LeMoyne calls these wild cows, and they may have been buffaloes 


of their toil. They reached Lake Ontario the last day of July, and the next day they arrived at a 
fishing village where Le Moyne heard the confessions of some Hurons whose firm faith, preserved 
intact in their years of captivity, drew tears of joy from his eyes. 

They proceeded overland towards Onondaga, and in every village (1) through which they passed 
the Christian Hurons gathered around the missioner to receive from him the blessing and the sacra- 
ments of which they had been deprived for years. On August 7 he baptized a young Neuter who had 
been instructed by Teresa, the Huron. LeMoyne rejoiced that he found himself in an already formed 
Christian community (2). Some of the Iroquois had become Catholics, or at least, had learned from 
their Huron captives to practice Christian works of piety and devotion; as the latter told Father Le- 
Moyne that many of them died with prayers on their Ups, and invoking the name of Jesus. 

On August 10 a council was held at the chief village (2), about ten miles southeast of Lake Onon- 
daga, on Indian Hill, two miles south of the village of Manlius (3), at which all the Iroquois nations 
except the Mohawks were represented. Father Le Moyne opened the proceedings (4) by invoking 
God's blessing on their deliberations, beseeching Him to give wisdom to their councils, and understand- 
ing to the hearts of his hearers. He addressed them in the Huron language, wliich they understood, 
and in Indian style, giving a present with each proposition. First he offered a belt of green glass 
beads, the diamonds of the country, and a valuable robe as a pledge of the good ^dll of the Governor. 
He gave them pledges of the release of eight Senecas, captives at Quebec, and also of the release of 
some Loup Indian prisoners, who were allies of the Iroquois. He assured them that the gates of the 
French cities were open to the Iroquois, and that the missionaries desired to come and instruct them 
in the faith. 

A celebrated Onondaga chief replied for all. In the first place, he desired to express his belief 
in the existence of the Master of Life, whom the French called God; and secondly, he insisted on the 
missionaries coming among them, to instruct them and be fathers to them, and they would be obedient 
children. They, moreover, agreed to send young girls as hostages to the sisters at Quebec, if a mis- 
sionary would return in autumn and spend the winter with the Iroquois. Le Moyne believed that 
there were, at least, one thousand (5) Huron Christians in the Iroquois country who had not lost the 
faith, and this fact alone inspired the missionaries with the determination of going to that region and 
laboring for these souls, even at the risk of their lives. As a proof of his acceptance of the proposition 
of the Onondaga orator, Le Moyne selected a site (6), and drove a stake in the ground as a corner 
stone for the future chapel. 

Father Le Moyne started on his return to Quebec, August 15, satisfied that he had made some 
progress towards peace, and rejoicing at the prospect of the establishment of a new and promising 
mission. At this time all the Iroquois, except the Mohawks, were at war with the Fries ; and, as the 
French could not rely on the specious promises of their newly-made friends, nothing more was done 
until the following year towards carrying out the provisions of peace, or the formation of the mission. 

Whilst the Mohawks were negotiating for peace with the French, they continued their savage 
warfare upon all the Indians who came to trade at the French towns. The French, however, were 
not in a position to resent these affronts, and they gladly fostered the friendly feeling manifested by 
these savage foes. Indian diplomatic etiquette required mutual visits from representatives of the 
nations negotiating peace; so the French felt obliged to observe this law, and to send a delegate to 
the Mohawks' towns. Father Le Moyne was selected for this important office, as he knew the lan- 
guage and was highly esteemed by the Iroquois. 

Father Le Moyne, twelve Iroquois, and two French, left Montreal, August 17, 1655, on a friendly 
visit to the Mohawks. On the voyage they enjoyed pleasant weather, and suffered the inconvenience 
of storms; they paddled peacefully over smooth waters, and encountered rocks and falls; they met 
with abundance of game, and again were destitute of food, but nothing serious befell them, and they 
arrived safely at the first Mokawk village the middle of September. The priest was kindly received, 
and presents were exchanged, protesting sincerity and peace. Instead of beginning his address with a song, 
in Indian style. Father Le Moyne called upon God to witness the truthof his words, and to punish either 
party which would violate their solemn pledge. A Mohawk chief gave a beautiful belt of 6,000 beads 

(1) These were little fishing hamlets. 

(2) Relations, 1654. 

(3) Gen. John S. Clark, Gen. Clark was the first to locate the Onondaga sites. 

(4) Relations, 1654. 

(5) Relations, 1654. 

(6) It was not on this site that St. Mary's was built. 



of porcelain, arranged to represent the sun, and he called upon this heavenly orb to shed its light 
upon their deeds, and to reveal their inmost thoughts to the French, because there was no guile in 
their hearts. Le Moyne believed they were treacherous, yet he placed his life in their hands, in the 
hope of promoting peace and propagating the Gospel. 

After the council the Father started for the Dutch settlement at Albany; and on the way he met 
an old Huron Christian, who was very much delighted with his visit, as she had a child to be baptized. 
Le Moyne returned again to the Mohawks after his visit to the Dutch; and this time he had a slight 
taste of the poisonous fruits of peace they might expect from the Mohawks. A crazy Mohawk ran 
about the cabins, shouting that he must kill Ondesonk (1) ; and he would undoubtedly have brained 
the Father with his tomahawk had not a woman offered her dog as a substitute victim to his fury. 

The home journey was made with great difficulty. The winter season had already begun, and 
the danger of encountering war parties on the water routes forced them to follow unbeaten paths 
through the woods. To add to their discomfort they lost the trail in the forest; and they wandered 
about for many days, cold and hungry, before they found the path to Montreal. 

(1) Indian name of the Father. 



IN September, 1655, a delegation of Onondagas, representing also the Oneidas, the Cayugas, 
and the Senecas, came to Quebec to induce the French to put in operation the proposals 
agreed on the preceding year. They offered, in the first place, presents to the Algonquins 
and Hurons to allay any suspicions which these ancient enemies might entertain of their 
sincerity, or of their evil designs. Then they requested the French to establish a colony 
among them, so they might learn the customs of the French and become one people. They wanted 
the Fathers to come to instruct them, so they might become a Christian people; and they also wished 
to have a chapel erected at Onondaga, which would be a central mission for the entire country. The 
French agreed to send two missionaries to begin the work, and Fathers Joseph Chaumonot and Claude 
Dablon were selected; the former on account of his experience and knowledge of the language, and 
the latter for his zeal, as he had just arrived from France and this would be his first work on these 
wild and hazardous missions. They prepared immediately for their mission, and left Quebec on 
September 19, 1655; but waited at Montreal until October 7, when they set out in company with some 
Iroquois and Hurons. They made slow progress up the river, as their provisions gave out, and they 
were obliged to wait for the hunting and fishing parties to supply them with food. They met a party 
of Seneca hunters, who told them that their nation would soon send an embassy to Quebec to ask for 
missioners (1). 

The missionaries had a very strange experience (2) of Indian life and belief on the night of October 
18. They were awakened at midnight by the screams and wild yells of an Iroquois of their party who 
was in great agony, and was suffering from violent convulsions. They ran to his assistance, but he 
escaped and threw himself into the river. They dragged him out, and placed him near the fire; but he 
again broke away, and said he must climb a tree to get warm. He told them to give the medicine they 
had prepared for him to a bear skin, and they were obliged to do as he ordered them. Then he told 
them he dreamed that a certain animal wliich plunges in the water got into his stomach, and he imi- 
tated the animal to get rid of it. Then commenced a most curious scene. Every one of the score of 
Indians began to shout and jump about, beating his stomach to kill the animal, imitating its cry, or 
yelling to frighten it away; but all acted as seriously as if the whole affair were a reality and not a 
fantastic dream. The solemn hour of midnight, and the wild forest surroundings added a sombre hue 
to the ludicrous scene; and these Indians looked and acted like demons revelhng in their midnight 
orgies. The cause of all this commotion fortunately soon felt relieved of the presence of the animal, 
through the efforts of liis companions, and allowed the others to rest after their successful yet exhaustive 

The party suffered some from the insufficient supply of food; but the hunters were successful 
in killing a great number of bears, and at the Thousand Islands they encountered a number of deer 
and wild cows (3) which furnished abundance of provisions. They met a fishing party at Oswego 
River, who received them with great manifestations of joy; and the Huron Christians flung themselves 
on the neck of Father Chaumonot, whom they had known in their own land, and profited by the pres- 
ence of the Fathers to receive the sacrament of penance. They (4) were kindly welcomed by all 
parties, and especially by the Christian Hurons, some of them coming many leagues to again behold 
their loved Black Robes, and receive from them the consolations of religion. On November 5, they 
met a chief who escorted them to a place a short distance from Onondaga where the Ancients awaited 
their arrival. A banquet was prepared, and an aged chief welcomed them in the name of the four 
nations, the Mohawks still remaining obstinate; but he said they would relent. They then proceeded 

(1) A party of ten Senecas came in January, 1656, and the richest present they gave was a request for the Fathers 
to preach the Gospel in their land. The chief of this party was killed by the Mohawks. 

(2) Relations, 1655. 

(3) BufTaloes, probably. 

(4) Clark, Onondaga. 


between files of Indians to Onondaga where the streets were very clean, and the roofs of the cabins 
were covered with women and children to receive the strange guests with shouts of welcome. In 
the evening a council was held, at which presents were exchanged, and the missionaries were formally 
welcomed. Teatonharason, an eminent Indian woman of the nation, who had dwelt some time at 
Quebec, offered her cabin as a chapel until the Onondagas could fulfill their promise of erecting a 
large mission house and chapel for the Fathers. The Cayuga deputies came on Sunday (1), November 
14, and the next day a meeting was held in a public place where all could attend. Father Chaumonot 
opened the proceedings with prayer, and delivered a very impressive address in the Huron language, 
and in Indian style, walking back and forth as he spoke, and giving a present (2) with each proposition 
as a pledge of faith. The Father occupied over two hours in delivering the address, which was the 
first able presentation of Christianity to the Iroquois, and these Indians listened with attention, and 
were charmed with his eloquence. The Iroquois commenced their reply by singing songs of welcome 
to the French, whom they invited to remain and instruct the people in the faith, giving them full liberty 
to enter their villages and their homes, or wheresoever duty called them. A Cayuga chief also made 
a speech of welcome, and gave a present signifying his desire to have the Gospel announced to his 

Iroquois Song of Welcome. 


O happy land; O happy land! 
Where we dwell together. 
Blest by the Black Gown's hand. 
Welcome, our white brother. 


Welcome all the pale-faced strangers; 
Stir the fires in high blaze. 
Heap the pine logs; now no danger, 
Peace is on all our ways. 


Words of grace and heaven's teaching, 
Fill our hearts with new joy; 
Upwards now our thoughts are reaching. 
Free from all earth's annoy. 


Frantic fiends the war dance singing. 
Round the fire in wild glee; 
Scalps of brothers homeward bringing 
Here you ne'er more shall see. 


Round and round in circling dances. 
Hand in hand firmly meeting; 
Heaven's word our heart entrance;g 
As we sing our greeting. 

(1) The Fathers said mass early in the morning, and this was probably the first time that mass was said in the 
State of New York. 

(2) The wampmn belt given that day by Chaumonot, as a pledge that he would preach the Gospel to them, was 
highly prized by the Iroquois, and is still preserved among the treasures of the League. Shea, p. 250. Gen. Clark gave 
Shea a photographic copy of the belt. See, also, Powell ' ' Report of Bureau of Ethnology, " p. 225. 



The sun no more is god of fire; 
Golden light, pure as snow, 
Our hearts ascend to God higher. 
To God only, Niio. 

On Sunday, November 24, the Fathers commenced giving regular catechetical instructions, which 
were very well attended by an attentive and orderly multitude of Indians, who were also very civil and 
polite in every-day life, so much so that they no longer seemed to be the savages they really were. 
Although these Fathers did not formally come as missioners, or preachers of the Gospel, but as ambas- 
sadors from the French to test the sincerity of the Iroquois in seeking peace, and to learn their dispo- 
sition towards Christianity; yet they did a vast amount of good, baptizing (1) over four hundred in a 
short time, and they paved the way for the success of future missions. 

The Fathers had constructed a little bark chapel (2), with the assistance of the Indians, and this 
first house of worship erected in the State of New York (3), and dedicated to the service of God, was 
named St. John the Baptist, and the whole country was placed under the protection of the same saint. 
In the following spring the Iroquois again insisted on the fulfillment on the part of the French of the 
agreement to establish a colony at Onondaga, so Father Dablon started for Quebec to induce the 
Governor to carry out this condition of peace. 

The French feared to establish this colony, because they realized they would be placing their 
lives in the hands of the treacherous Iroquois; yet they knew also that these revengeful people would 
declare war against them if they did not fulfill their promise. The Jesuits (4) were very willing to go, 
as they were ready at any time to sacrifice their lives in the cause of their Divine Master; and they 
said they could baptize more Iroquois, before the probable massacre, than the number of French col- 
onists, and this would only be exchanging perishable bodies for immortal souls. 

The Revs. Rene Mesnard, Claude Dablon, James Fremin, and Francis Le Mercier (5), with two 
lay brothers, prepared immediately for this perilous mission; while fifty Frenchmen under the lead 
of Depuis, commander at Quebec, volunteered to establish the new colony. The little flotilla started 
from Quebec May 16, 1656, bearing aloft a white banner on which was inscribed the word "Jesus;" 
and accompanied by Onondagas, Senecas, and some Hurons they sailed up the river, while the people 
lined the shore and cheered them on, amid many sobs and sighs of regret, as they looked upon them 
as certain victims of Iroquois treachery. They left Montreal June 8; and after much suffering they 
reached Lake Onondaga on July 11, and moved over the waters in naval array, firing their five cannon 
and their arquebuses, forming a most impressive sight in the midst of the Indian wilderness. The 
next day they sang mass (6) and Te Deum, and took possession of the country in the name of Jesus 
Christ. The site (7) selected by them was on the north shore of the lake (8), about midway between 
either extremity, and near two springs (9), one of salt and the other of fresh water. They afterwards 
proceeded to Onondaga, the capital, where they were received with such hearty welcome that Le 
Jeune says: "If the Iroquois should kill the French colonists I could not accuse them of treachery, 
but of inconstancy, so sincere seemed their manifestations of joy." 

(1) Clark, "Onondaga." 

(2) Shea, "Church in Colonial Days. " 

(3) This was about twelve miles from the lake, two miles south of the present village of Manlius. Clark, in Haw- 
ley's "Early Chapters," p. 23. 

(4) Relations, 1657. 

(5) These early missionaries had faculties from the Archbishop of Rouen, Shea. LeMercier was superior, and not 
Dablon as Shea states. 

(6) This was the first time mass was sung in this State. 

(7) Clark, "Onondaga." 

(8) The French evidently claimed title to the country by right of occupation, as Gov. DeLauzon, in 1656, made a 
grant to the Jesuits of a vast tract of land, ten square leagues, running eastward from the lake. This is the first 
piece of property acquired by the Church in the State of New York. 

Mr. Shea, generally exact, claimed that the first church property in the State of New York was a grant of land 
from LaSalle to the Recollects, at the mouth of the Niagara River. LaSalle did convey land to the Recollect Order 
at the time Shea refers to, but the land was at Fort Frontenac, now Kingston, Canada, where LaSalle had obtained a 
grant from the Crown. LaSalle had no title to land at Niagara, and consequently could not convey land to another. 

Even if it were true that LaSalle had conveyed land to the Church at Niagara, at the time of the building of the 
Griffon, the grant of land at Onondaga should have precedence of a quarter of a century. See manuscript copy of 
grant in St. Mary's College, Montreal. 

(9) Great numbers of pigeons came to the salt springs every year, and many rattlesnakes were seen on the hill- 
sides and around the lake. 


Delegates from the Five Nations assembled at Onondaga to hold an important council of war, 
and to discuss matters pertaining to the French colony. This gave the Fathers an excellent opportunity 
of announcing the Gospel. The council opened July 24, and the French knelt and sang the "Veni 
Creator." Father Chaumonot then began his celebrated address by expressions of grief for the loss 
of so many slain in war; then he gave presents to cement the bonds of peace between the Iroquois 
and the Hurons and Algon quins; and he gave presents to express the gratitude of the French for the 
kindly hospitality extended to them by their hosts. Then he eloquently proclaimed the object of their 
mission: they came not to seek wealth, or to barter for furs, but to enlighten the minds of the Iroquois, 
and to save their souls. The Fathers left their pleasant homes to dwell in bark cabins; they abandoned 
wholesome food for Indian fare, and they exposed their lives in frail canoes, on a perilous journey, to 
preach the Gospel. The Iroquois had promised to open their hearts to the influences of faith. Now 
is the time. Behold, he preaches it. Then he told them of the creation of the world, of the Incarnation, 
and of Heaven and Hell, as the reward or punishment for good or evil deeds. The Redeemer had 
commanded His apostles to bring His word to every nation and tribe in the world. This was their 
mission, and the Iroquois would be condemned unless they believed. 

The Iroquois were charmed with the Father's eloquence, and gave very enthusiastic expressions 
of approval. 

At dawn the next day the Iroquois again assembled, and an eminent chief repeated the principal 
points of the Father's discourse of the preceding day; and he gave a present to signify his desire to 
become a Christian. 

After many banquets and much rejoicing the French returned to Ganentaa to build their mission 
house and chapel. 

The work of evangelizing the Iroquois must necessarily encounter opposition from a people who 
had never learned to appreciate the beauty and importance of the spiritual life. The chief enemies 
of the Gospel were the Pagan Hurons, who said that misfortunes came to their nation along with the 
French and the faith; but the courage and devotion of the Fathers, visiting the sick at all hours, instruct- 
ing the ignorant, consoling the dying, without any hope of visible rev/ard, soon gained the confidence 
and admiration of the Indians, and many chiefs and ancients were to be found among their disciples. 

The missionaries had adopted the Oneidas and Cayugas as their children, and it was necessary 
to seal this union by personal visitation and presents, which would give them an opportunity of announc- 
ing the faith. At the request (1) of the nation Fathers Chaumonot and Mesnard started for the Cay- 
uga (2) country, where they were the guests of Saonchiogwa, the cliief who had replied to Chaumonot 
at the council the previous year. They were coldly received at first on account of the prejudices of 
the Pagan Hurons (3) ; but as the chiefs concluded that their temporal interests were involved in the 
peace with the French, they resolved to allow the missionaries to announce the Gospel, at least, to 
their captives and slaves. 

The Fathers, however, soon won the hearts of these people, and in four days they began to erect 
the chapel; and so many and such willing hands were employed in the work that in two days the 
building was completed, carpeted with pretty mats, and adorned with pictures of Our Lord and of 

the Blessed Virgin. 

The Fathers started on their journey to the Cayugas the end of August, 1656, and in two days, 
September 1st or 2nd, they reached the principal Cayuga town on the borders of the lake. Four days 
later they began the building of their little chapel; and so rapidly did the many willing hands labor 
that in two days the first house of worship erected in Western New York witliin the limits of the original 
diocese of Buffalo was ready for services. 

The haste which they manifested in building indicates that they had some object in view in pre- 
paring the chapel for some special occasion. This occasion was evidently the Feast of the Nativity 
of the Blessed Virgin, which falls on the eighth day of September. The first Catholic services, there- 
fore, and the first mass within the limits of the original diocese of Buffalo were held September 8, 1656, 
on the borders of Cayuga Lake. 

Father Mesnard did not understand the language of the country, which was a great obstacle to 
successful work, yet the Indians came in great crowds to behold the pictures; and they kept the good 
Father busy striving to explain their meaning, and the great mysteries of faith with which they are 

(1) Hawley, "Early Chapters." 

(2) For location of village see page 16. 

(3) Mesnard, "Relations," 1657. 


associated. Parents soon brought their children to have them baptized, and the larger children, who 
at first feared and shunned the missioner, soon learned to love him; and they told him the names, and 
conducted him to the cabins of the sick. He encountered much opposition through misrepresenta- 
tions of his office and his power, which were industriously circulated by the Pagan Hurons, and the 
Dutch of Albany, who were displeased at the ascendancy of French influence over the Iroquois. 

After two months of labor and danger Father Mesnard was called to Onondaga, but the Cayugas 
immediately sent a delegation beseeching him to return. He complied with their request and was 
received with great joy, and the people manifested their gratitude by greater willingness to have the 
children and the sick receive baptism, and by a larger attendance at instructions. 

When Father Chaumonot left (1) Mesnard at Cayuga, he proceeded with a young Frenchman (2) 
along the Indian trail to the Seneca towns. The Seneca country was more fertile than the territory 
of the other Iroquois nations, and the inhabitants were very numerous, comprising nearly half the popu- 
lation of the entire League. At this time there were two large villages and many smaller ones. One 
of these villages was composed entirely of Hurons, a majority of them being Christians, and was 
Christened by Chaumonot, St. Michael's (3). The missioner assembled the ancients of the principal 
village, Gannagaro (4), and eloquently addressed them on the Christian religion, and profl'ered three 
beautiful presents as pledges of his sincerity and the truth of his words. He told them that neither 
he nor his companions would leave the comforts and luxuries of their own beautiful land, and would 
come so far, and endure the hardships of Indian life, to teach falsehoods. According to their custom 
they held a council, at which they decided to accept his teaching, and requested him to remain and 
instruct them. He also visited the other villages where he instructed and baptized some; but it was 
at the Huron village of St. Michael that he met with a warm welcome, and found consolation in the 
lives of the Christians who remained faithful to the teachings of the missionaries during all the years 
of their captivity. Notwithstanding the bad example of the Pagans that surrounded them, they 
hastened to the missioner to get absolution for themselves and baptism for their children. 

Although the field seemed inviting and the prospects bright of introducing Christianity among 
the Senecas, yet the Fathers were too few to supply permanent missioners to the different villages; 
and as each of the four nations had formally invited them, they could not postpone, at least, a first 
visit without offense, so Chaumonot was obliged to leave the Seneca country to hasten to the Oneidas. 

He had labored about two months among the Senecas and the Huron Christians on this first visit, 
baptizing many children and some adults (5) ; and on his return to Cayuga he took Father Mesnard 
from his little chapel on the banks of Lake Tiehero (6) to accompany him on his visit to the Oneida 

The journey to the Oneidas was not undertaken without some misgivings on the part of the Onon- 
daga chiefs, who feared that these people might prove treacherous to their French guests; and they 
tried to dissuade the missioners from visiting these people at that time, as one of the Oneida warriors 
had killed a Huron at Three Rivers, and he threatened to treat the French ambassadors in the same 
manner. The Fathers, however, were not to be deterred by so slight a danger, and in company with 
two Frenchmen, and some Onondagas, they set out for their new mission. 

The first night of the journey was spent in the forest, and an Onondaga chief complimented the 
missioners on their courage and patient suffering of the hardships of the journey, travehng over ice 
and snow, and through water; but he told them to be of good heart, as they could find abundant con- 
solation in the importance of their mission. Then he called on the manitous of the place to protect 
them from harm, and he addressed the great and ancient trees of the forest; and besought them not 
to fall and envelope in their own ruins those who had come to prevent the ruin of the land. 

The Feast of Dreams was being celebrated when the missioners arrived at the Oneida town, but 
the orgies soon ceased, and the visitors were kindly received. The old Huron Christian captives 
joyfully welcomed the Fathers; and the Oneidas, too, sang their songs of welcome, as they were not 
unmindful of the difficult journey the Fathers had undertaken to visit their children. On the second 
day a council was held, presents were exchanged, and the Oneidas were formally adopted as children 

(1) Relations, 1657. 

(2) This was David LeMoyne, who died near Lake Cayuga on liis return from the Senecas. 

(3) In honor and memory of the Huron Mission of the same name. 

(4) See page 18. 

(5) The great chief, Annonkentitaoui, was afflicted with a cancer, but he was cured by Father Chaumonot, and 
was baptized and became a zealous Christian. 

(6) Lake Cayuga. 


of Onontio (1); and belts were given by the Fathers as pledges that they would preach the Gospel to 
them. The Fathers also took this opportunity to explain the most important teachings of Christianity, 
and exhorted the Oneidas to receive the beautiful light of the Gospel which would enlighten their 
minds. They instructed two old men, and baptized them and some sick children; but the Onon- 
dagas urged the missioners to return, as they feared the Oneidas might prove treacherous and carry 
out the threat the young warrior had made. 

The Mohawks were under the influence of the Dutch at Albany, and had strenuously opposed 
the proposals of peace made by the other four Iroquois nations to the French; and they continued 
their desultory warfare on the Hurons, even killing some Senecas who had come to Quebec with peace 
presents for the Governor (2). 

Early in May, 1656, three hundred Mohawk warriors descended the River St. Lawrence in their 
canoes, exchanged presents and friendly greetings with the French at Three Rivers; and, through the 
intervention of Father Le Moyne, they promised to return peacefully to their own country. They 
dispersed in small bands on seemingly peaceful pursuits, but in reality to reunite at Quebec to attack 
the Huron Christians at the Isle of Orleans. On the night of May 19, 1656, about forty canoes of 
Mohawk warriors glided noiselessly over the waters near the Huron settlement, and hiding their 
boats along the shore, and concealing themselves in the forest, they waited the coming of day to attack 
by surprise their unsuspecting Huron foes. The Hurons attended mass, as usual, on the morning 
of May 20th, and were returning to their homes, or to their different avocations, when suddenly the 
shrill war-whoop of the Mohawks was heard; and before the Hurons had time to prepare for defence 
many of them were slain and a number of others were led captives to the homes of the Iroquois. Many 
of the prisoners were burned at the stake, and some of the better instructed Christians among them 
ended their lives in a manner worthy of the early Christian martyrs; as instead of the usual death 
song, recounting their great deeds of valor, they sang the praises of God, the instability of life, and 
the happiness of heaven as the reward for fidelity in this world. 

The Hurons sued for peace after this sudden attack by their old enemies; but the Mohawks 
would only accede to their request on condition that the Hurons would leave their homes at the Isle 
and migrate to the land of the Mohawks. The Onondagas had also urged the Hurons to dwell with 
them, and the latter feared to offend either nation; so at a council they decided to divide into three 
bands, or clans: one to go to the Mohawks, another to the Onondagas, and a third to remain with 
the French. Le Moyne, who acted as negotiator of this peace, asked for delay until the following 
year, as he hoped in the meantime to visit the Mohawk towns, and prepare the way for the coming 
of his Huron friends. 

Father Le Moyne (3) had visited the Mohawks in 1655, and had promised to return the following 
year; but, after the slaughter of the Hurons at the Isle of Orleans, and the killing of one of his brother 
Jesuits by the Mohawks, he hesitated in undertaking the journey. As the Indians, however, consider 
the breaking of a promise a breach of peace, and a sufficient cause for hostility, he was willing to risk 
his life to gain the friendship of these people. He, therefore, visited their country, and was kindly 
received by them; and, after exchanging the usual presents, he visited the Huron Christians, heard 
their confessions, baptized their children and admonished them to be firm in their faith. 

The Mohawks had made efforts to bring the Hurons from the Isle of Orleans to the Mohawk 
country, and, in exchanging presents. Father Le Moyne gave a belt as a pledge of the willingness of 
the Governor to allow the Hurons to depart. As the Hurons had not received from the French the 
protection they expected, they readily consented to migrate to the Mohawk country, and become 
members of the Iroquois League. In the spring, therefore, of 1657, when another party of Mohawks 
came, a large party of Hurons returned with them, and some more followed shortly after with Father 
Le Moyne. As all of these Hurons were Christians, the Mohawks asked for a priest to accompany 
this emigrant band, and to teach the Mohawks also the faith which the Hurons loved so well. Father 
Le Moyne promised to follow as soon as his Superior would give his consent; but, as the Mohawks 
had been the most savage and unrelenting foes among the Five Nations of the French and Hurons, 
he did not think he could safely open a mission among these people. 

(1) Indian name for the Governor of New France. 

(2) Relations, 1657. 

(3) Father LeMoyne visited the Dutch at Albany and told them of the salt springs at Onondaga; but these steady- 
going burghers were not to be deceived by such strange stories, and they said this was a Jesuit lie. 


The Onondagas had also made overtures to the Hurons to become members of their nation; and 
they were so incensed at the exodus of the small band for the Mohawk country that they immediately 
set out for Quebec to force the remnant at the Isle to join their nation. As, at this time, there was a 
call for more laborers in the mission-fields among the Iroquois ; and as the spirit of peace seemed to 
have settled in the land, two more Jesuits, Fathers Rageuneau, and Duperon, resolved to accompany 
the band of Hurons to Onondaga. The Onondagas were waiting at Montreal to escort the Hurons 
up the river, but they refused to admit the Fathers into their canoes. This boded ill for the Hurons ; 
and it was the first intimation of any hostile feeling on the part of the Iroquois. The Fathers, however, 
followed in another canoe, and no further trouble arose until they reached the Thousand Islands, 
when the Onondagas made a sudden attack upon their new friends, and killed seven of them. News 
of this slaughter was brought to the French, and it was then they realized the danger of the little colony 
at Onondaga; as it was evident the Iroquois, under the cloak of peace, intended to wreak their wrath 
upon their old enemies. 

There was a well-grounded belief that the Iroquois intended at this time to massacre the French 
colony at Onondaga; but all the Hurons had, fortunately, not left their home near Quebec, and these 
found a pretext to detain the large band of Onondagas near the forts of the French until the following 
spring. This ruse averted, for a time, the impending calamity. 

In October, a party of Oneidas killed three Frenchmen near Montreal, and this would, probably, 
have been the signal for a general massacre had the Governor not promptly cast into prison all the 
Iroquois within reach, and held them as hostages for the safety of the colonists at Onondaga. This 
decisive action effectually checked further hostilities, and the Governor immediately dispatched mes- 
sengers to Father LeMoyne and to Onondaga, to warn them of danger; but the Fathers were not pre- 
pared to leave, and they labored on, hoping that their missions might be saved. 

The missionaries met with success in all the villages in which they labored; but it was at Onondaga 
where two of the Fathers were incessantly employed that the best results of their work were visible, 
as here: "The divine olBce is recited, the sacraments are administered, and Christian virtues are 
practiced with as much modesty, care, and fervor, as they are in the most Catholic and devout provinces 
of Europe" (1). More than two hundred were baptized in a short time, and of this number five were 
the most prominent personages of the village. "Most of the children learn the catechism, most of 
the dying become Christians, and all receive us joyfully in their cabins" (2). 

The frequent visits which the Iroquois made to Quebec, where they witnessed the beautiful cere- 
monies of the Church, or were made the recipients of the kindness and charity of the nuns at the hos- 
pital, when they were sick, favorably impressed these Indians, and kindly disposed them towards the 
French and their religion. The bright example of the Christian Hurons — coming seventy or eighty 
miles to renew their fervor by hearing the word of God and receiving the sacraments — had also its 
influence in turning the thoughts of the Iroquois to the teachings of Christianity. They were also 
quick to perceive that the missioners did not seek any temporal gain in preaching the Gospel, but 
sacrificed the luxury of pleasant homes in France to expose themselves to hardship, to danger, and 
death on these Indian missions. 

The mission to the Iroquois was considered the most dangerous, but also the most glorious and 
important of all the fields of labor of the Jesuits in New France. The Neros and the Diocletians never 
invented more cruel tortures for the early Christians than those which these savages inflicted upon some 
of the Jesuit Fathers; yet others were ever ready to take the places of the martyred missionaries, never 
doubting that God, who made most illustrious apostles out of the most bitter persecutors of his Church, 
would some day make docile disciples out of these barbarous foes (3). 

Many of the Fathers believed that the Iroquois had sinister designs in asking the French and 
Hurons to dwell among them, as these would materially aid them in their wars; and as soon as the 
Iroquois would be victorious over their enemies, and successful in their war with the Fries, they could 
destroy the Hurons and French. 

Others (4) claim that the Iroquois were sincere at first, but that they changed their minds when 
they found that the French were a burden to them. They were obliged to support the colonists, as 
the French at Quebec were too poor to offer any assistance, and the colonists themselves were unable 

(1) Relations, 1657. 

(2) Ibid. 

(3) Letter of LeMercier to superior in France, June 6, 1656. 

(4) Charlevoix. 


to raise corn and provisions for their own support, but relied upon the charity of their Indian neighbors, 
who soon grew tired of the task and resolved to rid the country of these helpless guests. 

There are many reasons for believing that the Iroquois had peaceful but selfish motives in bringing 
the French and Hurons to their country. For three years the four upper nations of the Iroquois had 
labored to bring the French and Hurons to dwell among them. It is true the Mohawks continually 
opposed their coming, yet they may have been actuated by jealousy, or were influenced by the Dutch (1) 
at Albany. The ancients and chiefs desired these colonists, because the Hurons increased the number 
of their warriors, and the French would furnish them with fire-arms and make iron implements of 
war, and the latter would also teach them how to build strong forts to protect them against the attack 
of their enemies, and which would be a place of refuge for the women and children when the warriors 
were away on the war-path or the hunt. The common people were also desirous of having the French 
dwell among them, as they hoped to reap some profit from their presence by the receipt of the little 
gifts which were so highly prized; and they could also learn some of the arts of European life. The 
Huron Christian captives stimulated, no doubt, this desire of seeing the French by their favorable 
report of the missioners, whom they loved, and of the Christian religion, to which they were so firmly 

The Fathers had noticed that many of the Iroquois acted in an unfriendly manner towards them, 
but thought that this might be the effect of individual hate until an event occurred which served to 
show them how insecure were their lives. One clan of the Hurons at the Isle of Orleans had resolved 
to cast their lot with the Onondagas, and in company with Fathers Ragueneau and Du Perron (2), 
they left Quebec in July, 1658, for theij- new home, which many of them never reached except as slaves; 
for their Onondaga guides proved treacherous, and on August 2d, killed some of the Huron emigrants 
on an island near the entrance to Lake Ontario, and led the others captives to their cantons. On 
hearing of this massacre the Governor caused all the Iroquois at Quebec, Montreal, and Three Rivers, 
to be arrested and held as hostages for the safety of the French colony at Onondaga. Shortly after- 
wards three French were killed by some Oneidas near Montreal; and the Iroquois were only restrained 
from further acts of hostility by the prompt action of the Governor, who held the Iroquois hostages 
responsible for the deeds of their countrymen. 

Father Ragueneau (3), however, thinks that the Iroquois induced the French and Hurons to 
leave Quebec and locate in their villages so they might put them to death when their victims would 
be helpless; for, although greatly superior in numbers, the Iroquois feared the military superiority 
and the cannon of the French. 

A secret council was held by the Iroquois in February, 1658, at which they resolved to kill all the 
French in the country; but, fortunately for the colony, they decided to await the return of their young 
warriors (4) from Quebec, where they were detained as hostages by the Governor on account of the 
murder of the Huron party the preceding year. One Iroquois chief, who had been converted and 
baptized, told the French of the decision of the council, and they made immediate preparations for 
flight. Their carpenters began secretly to build two large flat-bottom boats and four canoes in the 
loft of their houses, while the Fathers and the colonists were occupied in their daily avocations, as if 
they had no thought of impending evil. When all things were in readiness, they adopted a novel and 
successful scheme to effect their escape without detection. 

A young Frenchman who had been adopted by one of the Onondaga chiefs, told his host he 
dreamt he would soon die unless he gave a great banquet — one in which all the food must necessarily 
be eaten — to the warriors of the nation. As this chief firmly believed in the sacred obligation of ful- 
filling dreams he readily consented to the project; and the warriors were perfectly willing to gorge 
themselves with food to save a life. A great supply of provisions was gathered for the feast. The 
colonists gave their pigs and all they could spare from their slender store, as they hoped by treating 
their guests sumptuously, and by their happy mood, to allay any suspicion of comtemplated flight. 
When the guests were pretty well gorged with food they were induced to shout, sing, and dance, with 
all their might; and this gave some of the colonists, who had silently stolen away from the banquet 

(1) The English took New York in 1664, but the Dutch recaptured it in 1673, and the next year it again fell into 
England's power. 

(2) The Iroquois refused to take the Fathers in their canoes, and they were obliged to follow in another boat; 
and this objection to the presence of the Fathers boded ill for the Hurons. 

(3) Relations, 1657. ^ 

(4) They expected Father LeMoyne would secure the release of these warriors, on his return from the Mohawks 


hall, an opportunity to launch and load their boats, and prepare for flight. A few of the French 
kept up the riot until their guests became wearied or over-powered with sleep, when all hastened to 
their homes. The Indians, half stupefied with the heavy banquet, slumbered in their cabins long 
into the succeeding day, whilst the missionaries and colonists sped on their adventurous and danger- 
ous journey towards Quebec. 

The Iroquois evidently never even suspected that their intended victims thought of leaving the 
country at that early season, wlaile the lakes and rivers were still filled with ice, and rapid travel over 
land was impossible. The first intimation the Indians had of their departure came very late the next 
day — March 21, 1658 — when some of them, not seeing any of the French, nor hearing any evidence of 
life, entered their homes only to find that not one of them remained. 

It was a struggle between life and death with the French; and they put all their strength and 
energy into the work of forcing their boats through the floes of ice, or cutting a passageway with their 
hatchets, guided by the dim light of the stars or the flare of a pine torch, expecting every moment to 
hear the shrill war-hoop of their savage enemies in pursuit. 

After they had proceeded about twenty-five miles in this manner they were compelled to carry on 
their shoulders their boats, their baggage, and provisions, for four hours through snow and slush, and 
swampy lands, never delaying for rest until the following evening, when they reached Lake Ontario. 
With fifty miles between them and Onondaga, they began to feel that their lives were safe, and that 
they could take a few hours of needed rest and sleep. The lake was covered with ice, and they were 
again obliged to use their hatchets to cut a passageway for their boats; but they reached Montreal in 
safety, with the exception of three of the party who were drowned by the upsetting of a canoe in the 

On this first mission the Fathers baptized more than five hundred children and many adults; they 
renewed the fervor and the faith of the Huron Christians, and preached the Gospel to all the Five 
Nations (1) of Iroquois. They also instructed and baptized more than four hundred prisoners, who 
were brought to the Iroquois villages, to be held as slaves, or to be put to death. A temporary ter- 
mination, however, was put to the work of the missionaries among the Iroquois ; yet their labors were 
not in vain, as many through their efforts were prepared for a Christian death, and many more were 
convinced at heart of the truth of their teaching. 

(1) Father LeMoyne, who had gone to the Mohawk country in August, 1657, and had labored there among the 
Hurons and captives, was brought back to Quebec in June, 1658. 



[EACE between the Iroquois and French was broken by the killing of three Frenchmen by 
Oneidas near Montreal, in October, 1657; and the hostilities thus begun continued, with 
slight intermissions, for nearly ten years. 

The Iroquois prowled around the French settlements ever ready to attack any indi- 
vidual or small party of the French, or their Indian allies, when found at a safe distance 
from the forts; and although they made no concerted attack on Three Rivers (1), Montreal, or Quebec, 
yet they hung like a specter of death over the colony, obscuring the light of the Gospel, and impeding 
the commercial success of New France. Nature assisted the Iroquois in terrifying the hapless French 
colonists. A frightful earthquake shook the homes of the colonists at Montreal, and the din and glare 
of a remarkable electric storm added terrors to the unusual disturbance of the elements. The lowing 
of the cattle and the whistling of the winds seemed to the distracted inhabitants like human voices 
floating in the air, and they imagined they were the voices of their captive friends among the Iroquois 
bemoaning their lot. In the flashes of lightning some thought they saw fiery canoes laden with Iro- 
quois warriors hovering over their homes. A comet also appeared, having a tail shaped like a bundle 
of rods — an omen of impending calamity (2). 

The Rt. Rev. Francis de Laval, first Bishop of Canada, landed at Quebec, June 16, 1659, and the 
missioners were inspired with renewed zeal for the conversion and civilization of the Indians; but 
they found their field of labors bounded by a cordon of Iroquois warriors. The Huron Christians, 
who had fled to the regions around Lake Superior, asked the Fathers to come to them; but the rivers 
were infested by their ubiquitous enemies, and numerous and populous nations, who heard of the 
missioners, desired to see them, but the waterways were closed by war. 

The Iroquois also prevented these nations from coming to Three Rivers and Quebec with their 
rich loads of furs to exchange them for the toys and the goods of the French ; and, as these formed the 
chief commerce of the country, the colony suffered greatly from the stagnation of trade. 

The Hurons and the Algonquins, who knew well the treacherous nature of the Iroquois, told the 
French that the colony would never prosper unless the Iroquois were destroyed. The French realized 
that their only hope of prosperity lay in the destruction or complete defeat of their old enemies; but 
as they were not sufficiently strong to attack these wily savages in their own land, they appealed to 
the King of France for aid, as the interest of the Church and of France required the defeat of these foes. 

The Fathers, however, believed that more could be obtained by peace than by war, and they were 
ready to grasp any opportunity that promised the re-establishment of friendly relations between the 
Iroquois and the French. 

In July (3), 1661, two canoes of Indians came down the river to Montreal, bearing a white flag 
of truce. They were Iroquois representing the Onondagas and Cayugas, under the lead of the former 
host of Mesnard (4), who came to sue for peace. They brought four French prisoners with them, and 
presents to bring back the light of the sun; to bring back the old love which existed between them, 
and to bring back the Fathers to the missions they had abandoned, but where the fires were still burn- 
ing. They asked that one Father, at least, should return with them, as the lives of twenty French 
prisoners depended upon his presence. 

They wanted the sisters also to come, to establish an hospital for the care of the sick, and a convent 
for the education of their daughters. They were no longer, they said, savages, but Christians; as 

(1) The Five Nations intended to unite their forces in an attack on Three Rivers in the fall of 1661. They had 
already captured 13 French near Montreal and killed Rev. LeMaistre. 

(2) Charlevoix, "History of New France, " Vol. Ill, p. 58. 

(3) Relations, 1661. 

(4) Mesnard, first to bring the light of faith to the Cayugas, died in the forest on the Ottawa Mission, in August, 


Rev. M. p. CONNERY, 



Editor of the Catholic Union and Times Buffalo, 

and Rector of Ascension Church, 

North Tonawanda. 




Rev. P. Hoelscher, D. D., Rector. 

(The late) RbV. JOS. M. SORG. 

Sr. MARY'S CHURCH, Buffalo. 
Rev. Adalbert Frank, CSS. R., Rector. 

School and Rectory. Buffalo. Rev. Ferdinand Kolb, Rector. 

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Church of the Seven Dolors, Buffalo. 










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Buffalo, Original Buildings. 


Sisters of St. Joseph. 
(From Drawing of A. A. Post, Architect.) 


Rector of the Chapel of the Ble^ssed Sacremeiit, 


Superintendent of Schools, 


ST. JOSEPHS' CATHEDRAL, Buffalo, Rev. Jno. D. Biden, Rector. 

ST. ANNS CHURCH, Buffalo. 
Kev. V. Sheppach, S. J., Rector. 

Rev. M. F. Fallon, D. D. O. M. I Rector. 


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School and Rectory, Buffalo. 

Grey Nuns of the Cross. 




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Rev. R. C. O'CONNELL, Buffalo. 



there were more Christians than Pagans at Onondaga, where one of their principal chiefs rang the 
bell every morning to call the Christians to prayers. The French, however, were not willing to enter- 
tain any proposition of peace until they consulted the Governor at Quebec; but Father Le Moyne 
was prepared to risk his life in the interests of harmony and religion, and he returned to Onondaga 
with the Iroquois, where he was received with great joy and hearty welcome. The people turned out 
in great numbers to greet him; they loaded him with presents, and formed an escort to conduct him 
to the town. Here the women and children had climbed to the roofs of their cabins, and into the trees, 
to gaze upon the fearless Black Robe, who did not hesitate to endanger his life to ransom his country- 
men, and who now marched through their streets crying out his mission as ambassador of the French. 
The celebrated chief, Garakontie (1), came forth to receive him, offering him the hospitality of his 
own home, which he proposed to convert into a chapel for the celebration of divine service. 

The Ancients invited the representatives of the Five Nations to meet Father Le Moyne at Onon- 
daga, and listen to the message he brought from the Governor of the French. The delegates met in 
the cabin of Garakontie on August 12; and Father Le Moyne gave them presents to restore peace, to 
exchange prisoners, and to encourage the Senecas and Cayugas to visit Quebec on a friendly mission. 
He also spoke to them about the truths of Christianity, and they seemed pleased with his propositions 
and his address. 

The presence of this holy missioner was very consoling to the French captives, as well as to the 
many Huron and Iroquois Christians; and many of them assembled in Garakontie's chapel before 
the break of day to hear mass, and they came again at evening to listen to instructions and to recite 
the evening prayer. 

About the middle of September Garakontie set out for Quebec with some Onondagas and Senecas, 
and nine French captives, with rich gifts for Onontio (2), and with an earnest desire of procuring 
pea(;e (3). At the meeting with the Governor, Garakontie gave one present to represent the liberation 
of the French captives; he gave another, representing the keys of the towns of the Onondagas, the 
Cayugas, and the Senecas, giving the freedom of these towns to the Fathers so they might restore the 
churches that had fallen to ruins, and assemble the congregations that were scattered; and he gave 
another present, inviting the French to come and dwell among the Iroquois in large numbers, to estab- 
lish Christianity among these three nations that they might be united with the French in the firm 
bonds of permanent peace. 

Although the Onondagas had often allured the French into danger by their protestations of peace; 
and although they may have come with the Senecas on this occasion to obtain the aid of French arms 
against the powerful Andastes, yet the French were too weak to reject an alliance which offered even 
temporary peace with these powerful nations. The French had only about five hundred soldiers, 
whilst the Onondagas, Cayugas, and Senecas could send out at least fifteen hundred warriors against 
their enemies; and the French colony was surrounded by other unfriendly Indian tribes, such as the 
Mohigans and the Abnakis, who might unite with the Iroquois against the French in the event of war. 
The Mohawks (4) and the Oneidas would not join the other Iroquois nations in the proposals of peace, 
but they were not so much to be feared if peace could be established with the latter; and the French 
hoped to reduce them to subjection as soon as reinforcements arrived from France. 

The Fathers also hoped to establish extensive missions among the Onondagas, Cayugas and Sene- 
cas, as soon as they could safely visit these nations; as there were already many Christians among 
them, and many others were well disposed towards the Faith. 

Le Moyne came principally to save some French prisoners, but he found the Christian Indians 
so anxious to receive his ministrations that he prolonged his visit into the following summer. 

The Christian Hurons and Iroquois came from Oneida and Cayuga, under the pretext of trading, 
in order to receive the sacraments; and as the missionary had full liberty to mingle with the people, 

(1) Garakontie was the friend and protector of the French captives, and he had about twenty at his home at 
this time, whom he rescued from the fire through his pleadings and his presents, or purchased them from their masters 
with costly gifts. Although at this time he was not a Christian, yet he assembled the Christian captives at the sound 
of the bell in his cabin for morning and evening prayers; and on Sunday he prepared some little feast for them to keep 
them faithful to their duty and offset the bad example of the Pagans. He purchased a crucifix that had been stolen 
by the Mohawks, as he knew they would profane it, and placed it in the little chapel he had adorned for the Christians 
at Onondaga. 

(2) The Gtovernor. 

^ (3) On the way they met a band of Onondagas returning from Montreal where their chief, Orreowati, had killed 
Father LeMaistre. This murder discouraged many of the delegates, and they returned to their homes. 

(4) The Mohawks were then at war with the Mohigans, but peace was soon declared. The upper cantons were 
also successful in their war with the Andastes, and extended their conquests as far south as the Spanish Colony on the 
Gulf of Mexico. Charlevoix. 


he was kept busy attending to their spiritual wants. He visited Cayuga (1) and remained four or five 
weeks among the Christian Hurons and Iroquois, who were dehghted with his visit, and profited by his 
presence by receiving the sacraments. He baptized about two hundred during the year he remained 
in the country; and he found that the Christians were generally firm in their faith, even in the midst 
of persecution. Garakontie secured the release of eighteen French captives, and with these Father Le 
Moyne returned to Montreal in August, 1662, after an absence of more than a year. His visit to On- 
ondaga averted war for the time, and it gave the French farmers an opportunity to till their fields. 

During these years of warfare the Christians in the Iroquois country, though deprived of mission- 
aries, enlivened their faith by prayers. There were French prisoners who raised their mutilated and 
fingerless hands to God in prayer; there were Huron captives who proclaimed the name and faith of 
Jesus Christ; and there were Iroquois preachers, as well as persecutors of the Faith. Garakontie at 
Onondaga, though not yet baptized, assembled the Christians by the sound of the bell every morning 
and evening for prayers; and he frequently invited them to some banquet or feast to encourage them 
in the practice of their religious duties. Some of the women often met at the cabin of some pious 
Christian to recite the rosary, or to listen to a rehearsal of the teaching of the Jesuit Fathers; and they 
brought their children to some prominent Catholic Indian to have them baptized. One of the Huron 
Christian captives among the Mohawks kept account of the Sundays, so that the Christians might 
observe the day by prayer. 

Efforts were made at different times to establish friendly relations between the French and Iro- 
quois, but nothing more was done than to merely exchange presents. 

The great Garakontie gathered all the treasures he could command, and, with thirty Onondagas, 
started for Quebec in the fall of 1663 with this load of porcelain, or shell beads and belts, the gold of 
the country, to strive to appease the minds of the French, and bring back the light of Faith to his land. 
A party of Algonquins met these Iroquois on the way, and killed some, and led others away as captives. 
Garakontie, however, reached Quebec in safety, and was joyfully welcomed. A treaty of peace was 
concluded; which was the first formal treaty between the French and Indians (2). The French were 
not averse to these negotiations; as they checked the hostility of the Iroquois, and gave them time to 
receive aid from France, when they would be in a position to enforce peace with the arms of war. 

The long hoped for aid (3) from France came at last, and in June, 1665, the Marquis de Tracy 
reached Quebec with a regiment of French veterans. 

The new Governor began at once to strengthen the position of the colony by erecting forts on 
the Iroquois River (4). He believed there could be no permanent peace unless the Iroquois learned 
to fear the power of the colony; so he sought an early opportunity to send a powerful expedition against 
the Mohawks, the most inveterate enemies of the French. The Senecas and the Cauygas had never 
engaged in direct warfare against the colony; and the Onondagas, under the leadership of Garakontie, 
were well disposed towards the French. 

In January, 1666, De Courcelles led five hundred French soldiers on snow shoes to the Mohawk 
villages ; but all the warriors were absent on an expedition against some Virginia tribes, and the French 
soldiers were obliged to retrace their weary way to Quebec without striking any fear into the hearts 
of their Indian enemies. 

In September of the same year De Tracy led twelve hundred men into the Mohawk country; 
burned their villages (5), destroyed their provisions, sang Te Deum, and erected a cross on the site 
of the principal village, as a reminder of the power of the French and the importance of Christianity. 

The warlike spirit of the Mohawks was thoroughly subdued, and they came the following sum- 
mer to Quebec, humbly suing for peace, and asking for missionaries to teach them the truths of Chris- 
tianity. The other nations, also, soon sent delegations with proposals of peace, and asked for mission- 
aries to come to their homes and instruct them; but the Governor would not allow the Fathers to 
depart until the Iroquois gave hostages for each one, to secure their lives agaist the inconstancy, or 
treachery, of these unreliable Indians. 

(1) He was invited to Cayuga, and very kindly received by some of the chiefs, on account of the insolent attack 
made on his person, and on the chapel, by some drunken Onondagas. 

(2) December 13, 1663, N. Y. Col. Doc. iii, P. 121. 

(3) Horses were also sent over on these vessels, and the sight of these animals excited the admiration of the Indians. 

(4) This was the Richelieu River, on which three forts were erected; one at the mouth of the' river, another about 
forty miles up the river, at the falls; the third, about ten miles nearer Lake Champlain. Fort St. Ann was erected the 
following year, on an island at the north end of Lake Champlain. 

(5) The act of possession mentions five villages. The cabins were neat and well built, and were very long, some 
being 120 feet in lengtli. All the cabins were burned. 



EACE and the presence of so many French soldiers brought a feehng of security to the colo- 
nists, and they began to settle on the banks of the St. Lawrence, to till the soil, to hunt, and 
fish; but one of the greatest blessings of peace was the renewal of the Iroquois missions, 
where six Fathers were soon employed among the different nations. 

The Mohawks and the Oneidas had sent deputies to Quebec to cement the bonds of 
peace, and to ask priests to come to their homes to instruct their people. Father Le Moyne had pre- 
pared the minds of the Mohawks for the teachings of Christianity on his various visits to these people, 
and now three Fathers were ready to establish missions among them. 

Fathers Pierron, Fremin, and Bruyas, left Quebec in July, 1667, for the Iroquois country with a 
party of Mohawk and Oneida warriors. They were delayed about one month at Fort St. Anne, on 
Lake Champlain, on account of a party of Mohigans, who were in ambush on the shore of the lake 
awaiting to attack the Mohawks on their return from the French. 

After this delay the party proceeded without interruption along the west shore of the lake until 
they reached a point about two miles from the Falls, where the Fathers witnessed the observance of a 
superstitious custom peculiar to Indian life. At this place the Mohawks gathered a quantity of flint 
stone that was heaped up along the shore, and they threw great quantities of tobacco into the waters, 
as a tribute to an invisible people who dwelt under the waters, and who, in return for the tobacco, 
furnished the Indians with abundance of flint. The Mohawks said that these little people go to war 
in canoes like the Indians; and, as they are passionately fond of tobacco, the Mohawks gain their 
friendship by a generous tribute, and in return these people place large quantities of flint stone along 
the shore. The effect, however, wliich was produced, according to the Indian mind, by mysterious 
agents, was caused by the natural action of the waves; as the lake was noted at this point for its violent 
storms, and, as flint abounded, the waves threw up quantities along the shore, and the water and 
friction gave them a polish that made them seem the work of intelligent hands. 

The Mohawks had sentinels posted fifty or sixty miles from their towns, watching for another 
French invasion, and they were surprised as well as pleased to find this peaceful band of missioners 
instead of a destroying army. 

The Fathers were received with every mark of respect and honor in Gandaouague; and they 
immediately began their labors by visiting the Huron and Algonquin Christian captives, and adorning 
a little chapel where they might assemble them for morning and evening prayers. The Fathers were 
detained at this village some time by the Mohigans (1), who were then at war with the Mohawks, 
but their time was not spent in mere waiting, as they were kept busy administering sacraments to the 
Christians, and instructing some Pagans. 

The Fathers proceeded to the second (2) village, about five miles distant, where they were even 
more heartily welcomed than at Gandaouague; but they did not tarry here, as they wished to reach 
the capital of the nation. The capital, Tionnontoguen, had been destroyed the preceding year by 
the French, but had been rebuilt about half a mile from its former location. Here they were received 
some distance outside the village by two hundred warriors, who escorted (3) them to a place where 
they were formally welcomed by an eloquent orator. At their entrance to the town they were wel- 
comed by the discharge of fire-arms from the cabins, and by the firing of two small cannons at opposite 
ends of the town. They were afterwards entertained at a banquet, in Indian style. 

The feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, September 14, was selected as the day for the pre- 
sentation of their gifts, and the public explanation of their mission. The French opened the meeting 

(1) These were the Loup Indians, and they are called in the Relations the Mohigans. 

(2) See page 14. 

(3) The young warriors led the line; the Ancients came next, and the Fathers were in the rear, as this was the 
place of honor in their processions. 


with the singing of the Veni Creator, accompanied by a small musical instrument, which greatly pleased 
the Indians; then Father Fremin addressed the large assemblage on the subject of his mission. He 
spoke to them of the blessings of peace and the evils of war; and he told them they might now reap 
the fruits of peace, as they had suffered the horrors of war the year before in the destruction of their 
town. He reproached them for their perfidy, and for their barbarous cruelty towards French prisoners : 
and he said that his mission among them was to teach them to abandon these barbarities, to live more 
like human beings, and to adopt the faith and practices of Christianity. A Mohawk orator replied 
in the name of the nation, pledging his people to preserve the peace, offering the Fathers assistance 
in building their chapel (1), and releasing several prisoners, who were friends of the French, as a proof 
of their sincerity. 

The chapel was quickly built by the willing hands of the Mohawks, and was soon crowded by 
Iroquois, who came through curiosity, and by the old Huron Christians, who came with love and 
devotion; as the many years of their desolation had not lessened their fervor nor weakened their faith. 
The Fathers found ample reward for their hardships in the fidelity of these simple people. 

In one of the villages Father Fremin found forty-five of these old Huron Christians, and he was 
astonished as well as delighted to find that after near twenty years of captivity, without a church or 
a pastor to enliven their faith, they still preserved all the attachment for their religion which they 
manifested in their old Huron home. The Indians, however, have very retentive memories, and often 
when these captives were free from the drudgery of Indian slave life they would assemble around some 
friendly fireside, whilst some well instructed chief would recount the teachings of the Fathers and the 
practices of the Church; or some pious matron would invite them to a retired nook in the forest to 
recite the rosary, which they had learned from the sisters at Quebec, or from the Jesuits in their former 
home. One pious woman was selected to keep a record of the days, so they could know when the Sundays 
and holidays approached, to observe them in a religious manner. Father Fremin and Father Pierron 
labored successfully in the Mohawk villages, and in three months they had received about fifty persons 
into the Church: yet they encountered opposition and suffered abuse from the Iroquois, who often 
became deliriously drunk with the liquor obtained from the English (2) in exchange for their furs; 
and on these occasions entire villages became intoxicated and acted like so many demons. 

The Rev. James Bruyas left Fathers Fremin and Pierron at Tionnontaguen, and proceeded to 
the Oneida Nation, where he arrived in September, 1667, to beign the work of evangelizing this small 
but insolent nation. Here a chapel was built by the Oneidas in which the Father was soon to say 
mass (3), surrounded by the few Christians in the town. The missioner's time was principally occupied 
in instructing the sick and disposing them for the reception of the sacraments; and in this work he 
was ably assisted by Felix, a well-informed Huron, who earnestly invited the Oneidas to become 
Christians. In three months Father Bruyas added fifty-two members to his little congregation, and 
had bright prospects of future success ; but he was obliged to proceed cautiously with adults, who very 
reluctantly relinquished their dream theories and loose marriage relations for the stricter discipline 
of Christianity. 

Onondaga was the central nation of the Iroquois and the capital of the league; and here every 
year delegates from the other nations assembled to discuss matters of state, to allay any internal dis- 
sensions, and to maintain the sovereignty of the league. It was here also that the Fathers had formed 
their first and most flourishing church about ten years before, and they longed to re-visit the scene of 
their former labor and hasty flight, to revive the drooping spirit of charity and to relume the fading 
light of Faith. Father Julien Gamier, therefore, who had gone to Oneida to assist Father Bruyas, 
hastened to Onondaga, where he was most joyfully welcomed (4). The famous Garakontie soon had 
a chapel (5) ready for the Father, and when he had provided everything necessary for this new mission 
he hastened to Quebec, with some other prominent men of his nation, to bring back another apostolic 
laborer for this promising field. After exchanging presents with the French, Garakontie returned 
to Onondaga in September with Father Stephen Carheil and Father Peter Millet. 

In the meantime Father Garnier began his labors among the old Huron Christians, who formed 
the nucleus of his new congregation. The first fruit of this new mission shows the admirable fidelity 

(1) This mission was called "St. Mary's, " Relations, 1668. 

(2) The English had taken possession of New Holland in 1666. 

(3) Shea, "The Catholic Church in Colonial Days. " P. 28,5. 

(4) Garnier had merely gone to Onondaga to visit the Christians there, but Garakontie urged him to remain, at 
least, until he could induce other Fathers to come from Quebec. 

(5) The chapel was dedicated to St. John the Baptist. 


of the Christians, and their firm attachment to the teachings of the Church. Father Garnier visited 
an Iroquois, who had been sick for two years, and had been gradually growing weaker, until, at the 
time of the priest's visit, he could scarcely speak; but to the oft-repeated questions of the Father he 
finally answered: "I can now die happy since God has granted me the favor I have been praying 
for so long." He had married a Huron Christian, who had instructed him in the doctrines of the 
Church, and his only desire in life was to see a priest before death, so that he might leave the world 
as a follower of Christ. God evidently granted his prayer, as he died the next day, after receiving 
baptism from Father Garnier. 

Father Stephen Carheil left his companion. Father Millet, at Onondaga to assist Father Garnier, 
and proceeded to the Cayuga villages, about seventy miles distant. The Cayugas had never, as a 
nation, borne arms against the French, but had manifested a friendly feeling towards them, and a dis- 
position to accept the teachings of the missioners. The chief, who had been the host of Father Mesnard 
(1) ten years before, came with other prominent men of the nation to ask for a priest to bring back the 
light of faith to their homes. Father Carheil, accompanied by Father Garnier, reached the Cayuga 
nation November 6, 1668, and immediately began missionary labors by instructing and baptizing a 
female captive slave, who was that day burned at the stake and devoured by these cannibals (2). 

Father Garnier (3) gave two presents to the nation — one to ask for a chapel, another to invite 
them to accept Christianity. The chiefs replied by two presents, expressing their acceptance of the 
Faith, and their willingness to build a chapel. The chapel was ready by November 9, and was dedi- 
cated by Father Carheil, to St. Joseph. 

Father Carheil had a particular reverence for St. Catherine, and on her feast day, November 25, 
many of the Cayugas came to be instructed in the Faith, so the Father looked upon this day as the 
birthday of his little church. 

Many of the young men were absent on war, fishing, or hunting expeditions, but the rumors of 
an invasion by their old enemies, the Andastes, soon gathered them around their homes, when Father 
Carheil had an opportunity of explaining the Christian religion, and of gaining their afi'ection by the 
courage he manifested in danger, and by his sympathy for their cause. He remained on guard with 
the sentinels at night, and as the Indians admired courage they manifested their gratitude for his 
interest in their cause, and their respect for his person, at a public banquet. 

The Father turned their admiration for his courage to good account, as he went about among the 
people, telling them that good Christians had no reason to fear death. Why should they fear ? They 
believed in God, they loved Him, and they obeyed Him; and after death they would be eternally 
happy in Heaven. But you, my friends, should fear death, because until now you have not known 
God, nor have you loved or obeyed Him; and should you die without baptism, without believing in, 
or loving God, you would be forever miserable. He told the warriors he would prefer death to seeing 
them die without baptism ; and, as this was the eve of the expected battle, he said he would be on the 
field the next day to confer this grace upon the wounded, who wished to die as Christians. 

Ambassadors from the Senecas came to Montreal November 10, 1668, to ask for priests to come 
and instruct their people; and they sent a beautiful gift to the Governor as an evidence of their good 
will. They had also sent representatives to Father Fremin in the Mohawk country, to induce him 
to come to dwell among them; and as Father Pierron had returned from Quebec, and as there were 
many Huron Christians among the Senecas, Father Fremin left the Mohawk Valley early in October, 
1668, for the Seneca Nation. The Seneca territory presented a vast field for the labors of the zealous 
missioners, as more than half of the population of the league dwelt in the valley of the Genesee; and 
there was an entire village (4) of Hurons and other captives (5) a few miles south of the present village 

(1) Mesnard died on the Algonquin mission in 1661. He told his friends before departing on this mission that he 
would never return, as his advanced years and his delicate health, could not stand the severity of Indian missionary 
life; yet he would never be happy unless he went in obedience to the call of God. 

(2) Relations, 1669, p. 12. 

(3) Father Garnier accompanied Father Carheil to Cayuga, and he also delivered the address, as he was better 
versed in their tongue. 

(4) Shea. "The Catholic Church in Colonial Days. " It was called "Gandougars, " but the Fathers named it St. 
Michaels, in honor of the old Huron village of the same name. 

(5) There were three kinds of captives among the Iroquois : first, those captured in war, and who were treated as 
slaves, and could be killed at will; secondly, those who were captured in war, but who were liberated and adopted into some 
family; finally, those who came voluntarily to dwell in the land under the protection of the powerful confederacy, and 
these were entitled to most of the rights of the native Iroquois. The Hurons of Gandougars were principally of this 
third class, who had sought the protection of their coiiquerors after the dispersion of their own people. 


of Victor, where there were many Christians, who still preserved the faith they had received in their 
old Huron homes, and who only needed the presence of a priest to revive their former fervor. 

Father Fremin was the superior of all the Iroquois missions; and he visited the scenes of labor 
of all the other Fathers on his way to the Seneca Nation, which he reached on the first day of November, 
and was received with all the honor which these people are accustomed to bestow upon ambassadors 
of powerful nations. A chapel was soon built, and a little congregation of Huron Christians gathered 
around their pastor to renew their fervor and to revive their faith; but the great obstacle to the propa- 
gation of the Faith here, as in the other nations, was war; as then all the young men were absent and 
the older ones would not engage in any important affair, or listen to any matter affecting the life, 
traditions, and customs of their people without consulting the warriors of their race. The Senecas 
were then at war with the Ottawas, the Mohigans, and the Andastes; yet Father Fremin was kept 
busy encouraging the Christians, visiting and instructing some, and preparing the sick for baptism 
and a Christian death. In four months he baptized sixty persons ; but most of these were the children 
of Christian parents, or sick and dying Pagans. 

The chiefs built a chapel (1) for the missioner, and the people came in numbers to listen to his 
teaching. The Senecas were laboring to establish peace with the French, and they were willing, 
through motives of policy, to assist the Father in his work; but the sorcerers wielded all their vast 
influence to restrain the people from living according to the Christian law. 

The Father's first care was for the sick; and, as one of the periodic epidemics was ravaging the 
towns, he was kept busy visiting the dying to prepare them for a Christian death. 

In such a large field the duties were too onerous for one priest, so Father Gamier came from 
Onondaga to help his superior minister to the sick. As soon as the epidemic ceased the Fathers began 
to give instructions in their humble little chapel ; but from the naturally stoic indifference of the Indian 
they could not tell whether their teachings made any impression upon the hearts of their hearers. 

At the close of the year 1668 Jesuit priests were laboring in each of the Iroquois nations; in each 
nation there was an humble chapel where mass was said nearly every morning, and Sundays; and on 
the great festivals of the Church the mass was solemnized by the singing of hymns by these rude children 
of the forest; and in each nation there was a little congregation of old Huron Christians and Iroquois 
converts who learned the doctrines of the Church, and directed their lives according to the teaching of 
Christ. The Fathers gave instructions every day, and in some places twice a day, to the children and 
adults; and they found that the Indians were capable of understanding the great truths of Christianity. 

Father Pierron, among the Mohawks, was very successful in conveying Christian ideas of death 
and judgment to the minds of the Indians by means of pictures; as they became very much interested 
in those pictorial representations of truth, and asked many questions concerning them, which gave 
the Father an opportunity of adapting his teaching to the intelligence of his hearers. 

Every morning after mass the Fathers went through the villages to visit the sick, to instruct them, 
and to prepare them for baptism and consequent membership in the vast multitudes of the Church 
militant. Many of the greatest men among the Iroquois believed in the teachings of the Fathers, 
but they deferred their conversion to the last hour through fear of the taunts of their friends, or because 
they found difficulty in overcoming the Pagan vices of a life-time. 

One of the most important duties of the Fathers was the salvation of the souls of prisoners destined 
for death. The Iroquois burned many of their prisoners at the stake; and their contact with Euro- 
peans had not, at that time, mitigated the cruelty or lessened the demoniac tortures they inflicted on 
their unhappy victims. It was the height of Indian heroism to bear these tortures without flinching, 
and to hurl defiance at their inhuman tormentors ; but the Jesuits came, teaching the dying to be meek 
and humble, to forgive their enemies, and to prepare, even at that last hour, to meet their sovereign 
Judge. Often then, amid the roaring of the flames and the demoniac yells of these savage torturers, 
might have been heard the prayer of the victim imploring forgiveness for his own sins and mercy for 
his tormentors, whilst the Jesuit stood near to encourage the dying Christian to persevere, and to 
suggest thoughts and prayers in keeping with a Christian death. 

The Fathers spent the evenings in their little cabins preparing, with the light of pine knots, a 
dictionary of the language, or translating their instructions into the Indian tongue. 

Although many of the prominent men of the Iroquois nations favored the teaching of Christianity, 
yet the Fathers encountered much opposition; for they had to contend against long-established prac- 
tices that formed a part of the Indian social and religious life. The dream theory, or the necessity 

(1) This was probably at Gandachioragou, on the site of the present village of Lima. 


of fulfilling dreams, was observed in every village; the medicine men, or sorcerers, pretended by 
incantations and magic power to cure diseases, and to guide the weal of their fellow men; and very 
many were addicted to excessive drinking of liquor, which threatened the ruin of the entire league. 

Father Carheil's little congregation at Cayuga began to slowly increase in numbers, and it had 
not only women and children as members, but some of the warriors also became humble followers of 
Christ. Two of the most celebrated chiefs at Cayuga attended the services in the chapel and the 
instructions of the Father, for the purpose of becoming members of his flock. Many learned the 
prayers and the commandments, but the priest would not admit adults to baptism without a long 
period of probation. 

Besides the town of CajTiga (1), which was the seat of the mission, there were two other villages 
in which the Father was obliged to labor, and which afforded him an ample field for his zeal. These 
other towns were situated on the Seneca River, ten and fifteen miles distant respectively from Cayuga, 
and were inhabited by Cayugas, and by captive Hurons and Andastes. 

Father Carheil dwelt with the head chief of the nation, and though this chief was favorably dis- 
posed towards Christianity, yet he made the Father feel that his presence was not desirable. He had 
no personal dislike for Carheil, but as he had journeyed to Quebec to procure a particular priest for 
his people he was too proud to humbly accept a different one at the bidding of Garakontie. Gara- 
kontie, however, was too good a Christian to place any obstacle to the propagation of the Gospel ; so 
he sent a present to the Cayuga chief to atone for any unintentional affront. 

The Cayugas were very tenacious of the customs of their country and the traditions of their race, 
and they would not readily discard the superstitious and absurd method of healing the sick; so when 
Father Carheil refused to gorge himself with food to procure, as they believed, health for a sick Indian, 
they regarded his action as an insult to the family of the invalid. They attended the services of the 
Church in large numbers; they learned the commandments of God; and they learned to pray; but 
as they did not molest the Christians in their devotions, they did not wish to be disturbed in their 
sorcery and superstitions. 

One day the Father entered the cabin to instruct and baptize a dying girl, the daughter of a Huron 
captive, but she would not listen to him. The Father of the girl, addressing the priest, said: "You 
teach the same things that Father Brobeuf formerly taught in our northern home; and as he brought 
death upon people by pouring water upon their heads you wish to kill us in the same manner." Al- 
though the priest was greatly discouraged, yet he did not retire, as he hoped to convince these people 
of their error. Shortly afterwards a sorcerer entered the cabin. This man was on friendly terms 
with the Father, and often visited the chapel to learn to pray; so he was ashamed to exercise his magic 
upon the dying girl in the presence of the priest, and he merely applied some simple remedy which 
could give no offense. The sorcerer only awaited the departure of the Father to apply his secret art; 
but as the latter did not seem inclined to leave, he was finally forced to go. Tears filled the eyes of 
the Father, and addressing the assemblage, he said: "Are you astonished, my brothers, at my grief? 
I lovingly hoped to save that soul ; but now I see it shall suffer eternal loss — a loss which you do not 
understand, but which I know full well." Then the Father retired to the forest to seek consolation 
in prayer, and to deplore the loss of this soul. It was then that he seemed to partake of the grief of 
our Lord in the garden over the loss of so many souls, who through all ages would refuse to profit by 
His proffered graces. Whilst in this deep reverie he was aroused by his host, who warned him not 
to walk in the direction of the cabin of the dead girl. He knew full well that this meant danger, and 
the burden of sorrow was removed from his heart, and he rejoiced to think that God might be pleased 
to crown his labors with a martyr's death. The Ancients assembled in council; their wise counsels 
prevailed, and no further attempts were made upon the life of the missioner. 

The people readily learn the commandments, and they willingly pray in the chapel and in their 
homes; but they have a horror of baptism, as they believe it is intimately associated with misfortune 
or death. 

Rene, the companion of Father Carheil, was this year engaged in erecting a larger and a hand- 
somer chapel, as the little chapel first built was not capable of containing the crowds that came for 
instruction. This new chapel was to be built in the style of European churches, but with the bark 
roof of the Indian chapel. Besides carpentry, Rene had a knowledge of medicine; and as he was 
kind and affable to the Indians he was a great help to the missioner, and by prescribing natural 

(1) See Chapter II. 


remedies for the sick he did much to convince the Cayugas of their folly in having recourse to the sor- 
cerers and medicine men to be cured of their ills. 

Father Fremin did not send any account of his mission work this year to the superior at Quebec, 
but from other sources it appears he met with the same success and opposition as the Fathers in the 
other nations. The people came in crowds to listen to the instructions, and to learn to pray; but the 
Fathers were not convinced that the adults were prepared for admission to the Church. The sorcerers 
advised the people not to abandon their ancient customs, and the young men were so busy preparing 
for war with the Algonquins that they could give but little attention to the Fathers. 

Father AUouez, who was laboring among the Ottawa Algonquins, brought three Iroquois prison- 
ers to Quebec to be restored to their homes; and this kindly act tended to avert the impending war 
between these two nations. The Senecas, however, had powerful enemies in the Mohigans and the 
Andastes; and the strife with these made them more peaceably disposed towards the French, and 
more willing to assist the Fathers in their work. 

The Fathers made their home in one of the western villages (1) ; and from this place they occasion- 
ally visited the other towns until they returned from the conference at Onondaga, when Father Fremin 
went to dwell at Gandougarae. 

Early in August Father Fremin started for the Cayuga mission, which he reached on the tenth 
of the month (2) ; and from this place, as superior of the Iroquois missions, he wrote to the Fathers 
laboring in the different nations to assemble at Onondaga for a conference (3) on their labors, and for 
a spiritual retreat for themselves. Father Carheil shortly afterward accompanied his superior to 
Onondaga, where they arrived August 20; and Father Fremin had leisure to examine his old mission 
(4) before the arrival of the other missioners. 

All the Fathers had reached Onondaga by August 26, 1669, and they then spent a week in con- 
ference over their work, and in preparation and prayer for further success. As they were about to 
separate, to journey to their missions, word was brought of the killing by the French of seven Oneidas 
and one Seneca, near Montreal. This news caused a great commotion at Onondaga; and considering 
the revengeful spirit of the Indians, the Fathers looked upon themselves as certain victims of retaliation. 
Belts, however, were immediately sent from Montreal to allay the perturbed spirit of the Oneidas and 
the Senecas, and the Fathers were allowed to depart in peace. 

As Fremin and Gamier were passing through Gandagaro (5), the large eastern Seneca village, on 
their return, a young warrior savagely attacked Gamier, and threatened to kill him, and would, no 
doubt, have maHe good his threat had not others intervened to save the missioner's life. They reached 
Gandachioragou, however, in safety the seventh day of September, and soon after Father Gamier took 
charge of this mission. 

Father Fremin was delayed some time on account of sickness, but on September 27, 1669, he 
started for Gandougarae, where he was to make his future home. The old Hurons were delighted 
to have a priest dwell among them, and they even gently reproved him for tarrying so long with the 
Pagans of the western town whilst there were so many Christians at Gandougarae anxiously awaiting 
his coming. The good Christians began the erection of a pretty little chapel, where they might hear 
mass and the Word of God; and Father Fremin went about among his flock to learn their wants and 
the condition of his mission. The chapel was ready Sunday, November 3, and it was filled with 
Christians, who came to revive their faith, and with Pagans, who came to satisfy their curiosity. The 
oldest of the Huron Christians taught catechism, and the children vied with their parents in bringing 
their companions to pray. 

(1) ^ Most probably Gandachioragou, where there was a chapel. See chapter II. 

(2) ' Some historians — with senses keen enough to perceive evil in every act of the Jesuits — rashly asserted that 
Father Fremin designedly left his mission at this time to incommode LaSalle, and many other writers repeated the 
statement without taking the trouble to investigate its truth. Marsliall and Winsor say that Fremin left the Seneca 
town the same day that LaSalle arrived at Irondequoit Bay. Winsor, in his latest work, "From Cartier to Frontenac," 
with an utter disregard for dates, says that Fremin and Gamier left their posts August 26, 1669. 

Fremin was at Cayuga August 10, the day that LaSalle reached Irondequoit Bay, and he could not have made the 
journey in less than two days. Fremin would not have called the Fathers from the Moliawk and Oneida missions to 
inconvenience LaSalle, nor would he liave left his lay companion among the Senecas if he wished to hamper the explorer 
in his work. 

(3) This was the first ecclesiastical council held in the State. 

(4) Fremin liad been at Onondaga with the French colony in 1657. 

(5) LaSalle and his party visited tlie Senecas during the absence of the Fathers, in search of a guide to the un- 
known seas and the lands of the West. LaSalle, with Galinee and some men, visited Gandagaro, and remained in the 
vicinity some weeks; but they did not succeed in obtaining a guide. Father DoIIier remained with the rest of the 
party at Irondequoit Bay, where he said mass in one of the boats as often as the weather permitted. 


It was not by the number of baptisms alone that the propagation of Christianity among these 
people could be judged; for the Indian is naturally phlegmatic, knowing well how to conceal his 
thoughts; and often when they seemed indifferent to the teachings of the Fathers they were storing 
deep in their hearts the thoughts of God, of Heaven, and of Hell, and it was only when approaching 
death brought them closer to these that those thoughts became acts, and they manifested an .earnest 
desire before leaving this world to be consoled by the presence of the priest, and fortified by the sacra- 
ments of the Church. All, moreover, had respect for the chapel; and even in their drunken orgies (1), 
which were very common, they kept away from the house of God. 

It could not be expected that the pure and spiritual doctrines of Christianity would, in a few years, 
take the place in the affections of these people of the carnal vices they had practiced, and the super- 
stitions they had observed from time immemorial; yet the patience, perseverance, and love, of the 
missionaries triumphed over the prejudices of the Indians, and in many of the villages every adult 
was sufficiently instructed to receive the sacraments at the hour of death. Many of them believed, 
but did not wish to become Christians, because they did not care to abandon their vices. 

The Fathers had prayers every morning and evening in the chapel, and instructions at some con- 
venient hour; while the Christians were faithful in attending church, and receiving the sacraments 
on Sundays. 

In writing in 1870 to the Provincial in France, Father Le Mercier (2) stated that the Iroquois 
missions "never presented brighter prospects than at the present time; all the nations have chapels 
and priests; all listen with interest to the teachings of the Fathers; and all seem to be on the eve of 
their Christian regeneration" (3). 

The success in the missions depended upon peaceful relations between the Iroquois and French, 
so the latter were careful to strengthen the ties of friendship which bound them to their dusky allies; 
and a council was held at Montreal to adjust some differences existing between the Iroquois and 
Algonquins. A party of Iroquois had pillaged a defenceless village of the Algonquins; and this act 
of hostility threatened a war, which would also involve the French but for the wisdom and prompt 
action of the great Garakontie who immediately sent wampum belts to the Iroquois nations to restrain 
the young warriors from further hostile acts, and to invite them to send delegates to Montreal where 
they would meet the Algonquins, and settle their diflSculties in a peaceful manner before the Governor 
of the French. 

The Iroquois party reached Montreal about the same time that four hundred Algonquins came 
down the river for their annual barter of furs. The Governor invited the Indians to Quebec, and 
twenty from each nation were selected as delegates to the council. They arrived at Quebec towards 
the end of July, and three meetings were held to adjust their differences. At the first session the dele- 
gates merely exchanged compliments and Idndly greetings. The next day the Algonquin orators 
offered their gifts, and eloquently proclaimed the desire of their nation to preserve the peace which 
had been so ruthlessly broken by the Seneca warriors; and they called upon the Governor to punish 
those who violated the treaty he had sanctioned. 

The decision given by Onontio the next day was very satisfactory to the delegates, who had assem- 
bled to listen to the peaceful solution of questions which they had long sought to settle by the scalping 
knife, or the tomahawk. He had ordered, he said, some Frenchmen to be put to death because they 
had broken the peace by the murder of three Iroquois; and now he would deal in a similar manner 
with the Senecas who had given cause for war by their wanton attack on the Algonquins. Peace, he 
said, would bring prosperity and happiness to all; and he urged the Indians to accept the blessings 
the missioners would bring, by teaching them the truths of Christianity and the customs of civilized 
life. An old Huron chief thanked the Governor for advancing the temporal interests of the Indians, 
and for opening the paths for the missioners to bear the light of Faith to distant nations (4). 

Garakontie then arose, and delivered an eloquent oration in favor of the Faith. He publicly 
proclaimed his belief in Christianity, renounced all Pagan practices, and expressed a desire to be 
baptized. He had already asked in his own home to be received into the Church, but Father Garnier 
wished to further test the sincerity of the chief; but on this occasion he spoke with such love and zeal 

(1) These drunken riots lasted as long as the liquor, which they obtained from the Dutch, held out — sometimes 
continuing two weeks. See Relations, 1671. 

(2) LeMeroier was the superior of the Jesuits in New France. 

(3) The Recollects returned this year to Canada, and brought great relief to the overworked Jesuits. 

(4) According to Indian official etiquette it was not proper to reply to any proposition the same day it was 
offered, and the French observed this rule in dealing with Indian statesmen. 


for Christianity, and expressed such an ardent desire for baptism that the bishop, who had learned 
of his good works and good life, resolved to grant his request, and to give all the pomp possible to his 
solemn baptism. The Governor of New France and the daughter of the Intendant stood sponsors 
for the Indian chief; and the bishop administered the sacrament in the cathedral of Quebec, which 
was crowded with French and representatives from nearly every Indian tribe in New France. When 
asked if he wished to be baptized he said he had long since desired this grace; and he returned thanks 
to the bishop for making him a child of the Church and an heir of Heaven. 

He was afterwards conducted to the residence of the Governor, where he was received with firing 
of cannon by the soldiers, and was entertained at a grand banquet given in his honor. Garakontie 
was one of the greatest Indians of his age, and one of the wisest and the most influential among the 
Iroquois chiefs; and his adoption of Christianity showed that the missioners were making a deep 
impression on the minds of the most intelligent Indians. 

Father (1) Carheil writes from Cayuga, June 10, 1670, that his time was fully occupied in teaching 
Christian doctrine to young and old, in baptizing children and adults, and in visiting the sick and dying. 
The country was placed under the protection of St. Joseph, and each of the villages (2) was dedicated 
to some saint. He had baptized twenty-five children and twelve adults since the preceding autumn, 
although many objected to the sacrament, prejudiced, no doubt, by the malicious stories circulated 
by Pagan Indians. They claimed that nations decayed as they adopted Christianity, and death soon 
followed the reception of baptism. One instance of obstinacy will suffice to show the trials of the 
missionary. He visited a Seneca woman who was sick, and spoke to her of God, of the soul, and eternal 
life; but she would not listen to him, and prejudiced all her friends against him, so that all maintained 
profound silence when he entered the cabin, or were indifferent to his presence. He said mass for 
her, and prayed that God would give her the grace of faith ; but she still remained obstinate and threw 
her shoe at him when he attempted to address her. The Father did not lose hope, but returned to 
the cabin at evening and spoke to those present of the teachings of Christ. Finally, a Christian woman 
told the sick Seneca that she was dying, and should listen to the missionary and prepare for the meeting 
with God. She yielded; told the missionary she believed all he had taught her, and asked to be 

The Huron Christians gave great consolation to the Father, and a noble example to the Pagans, 
by their fidelity to the Faith, by their devout demeanor, frequent reception of the sacraments, and the 
purity of their lives. 

A very large number attended the instructions which were given every day in the chapel, nearly 
one hundred coming the first day; but it was almost impossible to induce them to abandon their relig- 
ious theory of dreams. Although they did not believe that a dream was a divinity, yet they held that 
a genius, or demi-god, they call Agatkonchoria, appears to them in dreams, and commands them to do 
what he thus reveals; and they faithfully follow the mandates of this mysterious power, as happiness 
and prosperity depend upon obedience, and misfortune and evil will come from refusal or neglect 
to obey. The principal of these genii is Tharoniawagon, who is also the chief divinity and the master 
of life. 

The young men delight in hunting, fishing, and in war; and when they are successful in these 
they become insolent and despise Christianity, as the foundation of faith is the spirit of humility, and 
this virtue is directly opposed to all the savage believed to be good or great. It is very difficult, there- 
fore, to make an Indian die a saint who has lived all his life a savage. 

Father Fremin found his greatest consolation among the Senecas in his little congregation of old 
Huron Christians at Gandougarae. These Christians had not forgotten the doctrines they had been 
taught in their old homes, and they came again to the foot of the altar to renew their faith, and to thank 
God for the presence of a priest. They made open profession of their faith, and the purity of their 
lives made a very favorable impression upon the minds of the Pagans. 

Many of the Christian Hurons were very exemplary, and even saintly in their lives; and through 
the long years of their desolation they kept alive the spirit of faith by repeating the truths taught them 
by the Jesuits in their old home, by acts of piety, and by prayers. Two of the old men were especially 
noted for their holy lives, and the Pagans as well as the Christians were edified by their good example. 
One of these old men, James Atondo, was noted for his spirit of prayer, and for his zeal in proclaiming 
the name of God. He accepted the law of God as the guide of his life, and he sought to convince his 

(1) Relations, 1670. 

(2) See Chapter II. 


Pagan friends of the benefits to be derived from prayer. He told the Pagans that they gave banquets 
and presents, and went to much trouble to propitiate the dream spirit so they might be successful in 
fishing, in hunting and in war; yet they were in misery and in want, whilst disease and war carried 
off some of their finest men. He did not believe in fulfilling dreams, but prayed to God for guidance 
and help, and God blessed him with a vigorous old age, and an abundant supply of fish and game. He 
was comfortably situated in this world, and hoped to be happy with God in the next; whilst they would 
only be released from present ills to fall victims to greater sufferings after death. 

Francis Tehoronhionga was another noted and exemplary member of Father Fremin's little flock. 
He was intelligent, and well instructed, as he was formerly the host of Father Le Moyne; and he 
taught the doctrine of the Church to every member of his household. For more than twenty years he 
never neglected his daily prayers; and every day he besought God to preserve his life until he could 
again see a priest, and receive the sacraments of the Church. He had the firmest hope that his prayers 
would be heard. He could not believe that God would call him to Christianity and allow him to die 
without its blessings, because then all his prayers would have been in vain, and the spiritual character 
of baptism would be a mark of dishonor instead of a symbol of glory. When he heard of the arrival 
of Father Fremin he exclaimed: "God has at length heard my prayer." In speaking of his dead 
relatives he said : "Wliy should I grieve over their departure ? My mother died shortly after receiving 
baptism, and most of my near relatives received the sacraments before death; and I hope they are 
now happy in Heaven." Every member of his family, who died when a priest was not near, made, at 
least, a confession of sin, and endeavored to excite in his heart perfect sorrow for the past. The 
greatest affliction of his life, he said, was caused by the bad conduct of one of his sons, who led a very 
bad life and died without having been reconciled with God. He had then but one son living, and, 
although this one had gone on the war path, yet, as he had received the sacrament of penance from 
Father Fremin before his departure, if death should come it would not find him entirely unprepared. 

Francis knew many of the Bible narratives, and the miracles and parables of the Gospel, and he 
delighted to recite these for the edification of his neighbors and friends, and in this manner he paved 
the way for the teaching of the Fathers. 

It was a very difficult and tedious task to imbue the minds of these savages with pure and thorough 
Christian principles, as these were contrary to all their traditions, modes of life, and forms of thought; 
and they were apt to confound their Indian belief with Catholic truth. As an instance of this con- 
fusion of Pagan opinion with Christian truth. Father Fremin relates the peculiar notion an Iroquois 
woman had of Heaven (1). The daughter of this woman died a Christian, and, as the family was 
quite prominent in the nation, the girl had twenty slaves to do her bidding; so she was never obliged 
to carry wood or water, or do any manual labor in this world ; and as she was the only member of the 
family in Heaven, she would there be compelled to cook for herself, and do all the drudgery; so this 
kind mother requested the missioner to baptize a female slave, who was dying, so that she might be 
a servant to her child in Heaven. 

The Senecas seemed to be more firmly attached to the dream theory than the other Iroquois, and 
they consider any one guilty of a grievous crime who would not fulfill the obligations thus revealed. 
The dreamer is not deterred from fulfilling every feature of the dream, how ridiculous soever or difli- 
cult it may be. One, for instance, dreamed of taking a bath, and as soon as he awoke in the morning 
he ran naked to the neighboring cabins, and compelled the inmates to pour kettles of water over his 
body. Another dreamed he was taken captive and burned at the stake; so he had his friends bind 
him to a stake, and light the fagots around him until he was quite severely burned, as he hoped in 
this way to escape a real captivity and a horrid death. Another made the long and toilsome journey 
to Quebec to obtain a dog, which she dreamed she had purchased from the French. 

The missionary, therefore, is in constant danger, as one of these Indians may dream that it is 
his duty to mutilate or kill the minister of Christ (2). There were, however, many bright examples 
of beautiful lives and saintly deaths among the Christians to console and encourage the Fathers, even 
in the midst of these dangers. 

At Onondaga Garakontie publicly proclaimed his Christian faith, and gave in his life a beautiful 
example of the efficacy of Christianity in overcoming evil and of leading its professors into the path 
of virtue. Before accepting the faith he had a plurality of wives, and was addicted to many of the 
superstitions of his race, but he abandoned all these on the threshold of the Church. In a speech at 

(1) Relations, 1670. 

(2) Relations, 1670. 


a public banquet he said that he had filled many important offices in his country; he had been kind 
to the poor and to the widows, helping them in their time of need; and all these things he had done 
through natural inclination, or a sense of honor; he would continue to do in the future as he had in 
the past, but henceforth he would act through higher motives, because his religion taught him that 
these good deeds were pleasing to God. 

They must not, however, expect him to countenance the belief in dreams, or to participate in any 
of the superstitious practices of their forefathers; because all these things were forbidden by the law 
of God. An occasion soon came in which his fidelity was put to a severe test. The Iroquois cele- 
brate in the springtime the feast of dreams (1), during which they expect that Thoroniawagon, the 
master of life, will reveal to them their good or evil fortune during the coming year; and, as the feast 
is celebrated in his honor, they hope he will grant them success in the hunt, and victory in war. The 
chief of the town is expected to appoint the time and suggest the preparations for the feast. Garakontie 
held this position, and when his attention was called to the matter at a council he replied that he was 
a Christian and could not sanction any such superstition (2). 

The action of Garakontie displeased the Pagans, but it encouraged the Christians to publicly 
profess their belief; and it gave the sanction of the greatest living Iroquois to the teaching of the Fathers. 

The great chief fearlessly proclaimed his faith before the Dutch at Albany, and he told them that 
they could not hope for success in their peace negotiations with the Iroquois because they sought to 
discredit the teachings of the Jesuits. "When we treat with Onontio (3)," he said, "he tells us we 
must honor God and keep His holy law, and we must respect and believe those who teach us what is 
good for our souls; but you turn us away from the worship of God, and ridicule the practices taught 
us by the Black Robes." 

The uncompromising faith of this great chief had a salutary effect upon the Christians at Onon- 
daga; and they renounced old customs which were immoral, and they abstained from liquor, which 
was bringing disgrace and ruin upon their race When one of the members of the little flock gave 
scandal by excessive liquor drinking, she was excluded from the church until she had made reparation 
by public penance: but so highly did these people prize the rules of their church that they willingly 
bore the penalties inflicted for public sin; nor was their respect for these laws weakened by the taunts, 
or the sneers of their Pagan friends. 

Father Carheil baptized sixty-two in his different missions this year, and of this number thirty-flve 
died shortly after receiving this first sacrament of the Church. 

He met with some difficulty in eliciting true sorrow from the adults for past sins; as many of 
these had been addicted to vices which, with the natural light of reason, they knew to be wrong; but 
when the greater light of revelation and grace discovered these things to them in the enormity of sins, 
their souls were disturbed with the consciousness of guilt, and a special grace was required to enable 
them to conquer. In such cases the missioners had recourse to prayer; and they generally were 
pleased to find such persons manifesting every outward mark of sincere sorrow. As an instance of 
the difficulty of awakening sorrow for sin in the hearts of these people. Father Carheil relates the case 
of a young woman who was a regular attendant at the instructions in the chapel. She was amiable 
in disposition and refined in manners, and her conversation showed more of European culture than 
of savage breeding. She gradually learned the doctrines of Christianity, and the missioner considered 
her a well disposed subject for baptism. In making his daily visits to the cabins, the Father found 
this woman quite seriously ill, and piteously begging for some remedy to restore her health. He spoke 
to her of the spiritual healing of the soul, and of the dispositions necessary for receiving the sacraments; 
and she listened with pleasure to his instructions upon the nature and effects of baptism; but when 
he told her that the pouring of water alone was not sufficient to merit the graces of this sacrament, 
but that true sorrow and a firm resolve to sin no more were also necessary, she refused to accept his 
teaching. The saving of a soul was too important a work to be abandoned on account of a rebuff; so 
the Father resumed his instructions as soon as she would allow him to enter her cabin, and her dislike 
of Christianity was soon changed to love. The solicitude which the Father manifested for her spiritual 
and corporal welfare won her confidence, and she soon learned that deep sorrow for sin brought true 
joy to the soul. ' 

(1) Called Onnonhouaroia. 

(2) Relations, 1671, p. 17. 

(3) The French Governor. 


Father Gamier relates examples of individual piety and holiness of life manifested by his little 
flock; but, as a nation, the Senecas did not seem to be any more disposed to adopt Christianity than 
their brethren of the Cayugas, and it was only in the time of humiliation or defeat that they hastened 
to the chapel. The town of Gandougarae, St. Michael's, was entirely destroyed by fire in the spring 
of 1670, and the inhabitants lost all their provisions and personal property, yet their greatest loss 
seemed to be the chapel. They said the destruction of their own homes was a merited punishment 
for their opposition to the Gospel, and they promised to erect a handsome chapel for the Father, as 
soon as they could provide shelter for themselves, and protection against their enemies. 

Drunkenness was very common among the Senecas whenever they could obtain liquor from the 
Dutch or French, and at such times the orgies continued until all the liquor was consumed. Often 
twenty or thirty small casks of strong drink were brought from the settlement at Albany, and the entire 
Pagan population of a town would begin a drunken debauch, which would last for many weeks. It 
was at such times, especially, that the Christians showed the influence of their faith upon their lives. 
They took no part in these excesses, and were obliged to hide away in the forests to escape from the 
riotous rabble; and they would steal their way to the chapel, under the mantle of morning twilight, to 
pray in peace. 

The Senecas were as fully fascinated with the dream folly as the other nations, and they cele- 
brated the feast every springtime with all the fervor of religious enthusiasts. Some of the Christians, 
however, firmly protested against this folly, and refused to take part in the dream feast. One old Huron, 
at St. Michael's, went through the town, and also through the neighboring village of St. James', crying 
out against the custom, and warning the Pagans not to approach his cabin to seek his aid in furthering 
their folly. 

The Father says these people manifest great aversion to the Faith, and the conversion of a savage 
must be the work of grace. The unrestrained liberty of their life made them averse to any law which 
restricted their will, or fettered the freedom of passion's sway. Pride, also, prevented many from 
yielding submission to the Christian law; for this vice reigned in the cabins of the Iroquois as well as 
in the palaces of Europe, and a few furs, or a number of scalps, were sufiicient to fill an Indian's mind 
with exalted thoughts of his own importance. Their morality was not in accord with the Christian 
code, and they could not be induced to abandon the practices of a licentious life for the moral virtue 
of the Gospel. Some of their amusements were immoral, but they were a source of sensual pleasure 
which the young people would not willingly forego at the command of the priest. 

Insurmountable as these obstacles seemed, yet the Fathers (1) overcame them by untiring efforts; 
and their zeal, their patience, and their sweetness, won the respect and good will of many of these 

The Fathers knew the language well, and every day they preached to large numbers in the chapel. 
All the Senecas were sufficiently well instructed to receive baptism; but human considerations or 
sinful lives kept them out of the Church, and many delayed their conversion until they found death 

The Senecas were also very much attached to the observance of superstitious customs, which 
they very reluctantly abandoned to adopt Christianity; but as all were well instructed very few died 
without being received into the Church. Many of the Senecas put off their conversion to the hour of 
death, because they did not wish to abandon their vices or renounce the customs of their race; but 
when they realized that life was drawing to its close they urgently sent for the priest, and requested 
to be baptized so they might enter the Christian Heaven. It was difficult, however, for them to over- 
come in a moment the habits of a life-time. Father Garnier relates the peculiar case of one of his 
converts who persisted in believing in dreams. This man dreamed, shortly after baptism, that he 
was in Heaven, where he was received by the French with the cry which the Indians utter when they 
meet a prisoner who is destined for the stake; and he accused the Father of deceiving him, as baptism 
was, according to his dream, only a mark by which the French in Heaven might know those who were 
to be burned. 

Morning and evening prayers were said in the different villages, by Pagans as well as Christians, 
and Father Garnier was kept so busy instructing and baptizing that he was obliged to send for help 
to assist him in his work. 

(1) Father Fremin left the Seneca mission this year to take charge of the little congregation at Prarie de la 


Following the example of Garakontie, Saonchiogwa, the great chief of the Cayugas, was received 
into the Church at Quebec, with all the ceremony and honor which the prelate and Governor could 
bestow upon so distinguished a convert. 

The Senecas and Cayugas were near neighbors and firm friends, and were closely allied in peace 
and war; so when the former decided to send a delegation on important business to Quebec, in 1671, 
they selected Saonchiogwa, the Cayuga chief, as their ambassador. 

The French Governor labored to put an end to the war between the Iroquois and Algonquins ; 
and he threatened to invade the land of the Senecas unless they buried the hatchet and released the 
captives they had taken. The proud Senecas were very indignant at this unjust assumption of French 
alliance with all the Indian nations who were at war with the Iroquois, merely because these nations 
traded with the French, or because French Fathers preached the Gospel among them (1). The French 
furnished arms to these nations to fight the Iroqupis, and at the same time they ordered the Senecas 
to lay down their arms. Many of the young warriors were in favor of resenting this insult by attacking 
the French settlements; but the wiser ones feared the French might make good their threat, and that 
their homes would be made desolate, as were the towns of their Mohawk brethren some years before 
by the army of De Tracy. In this dilemma they resorted to their usual peace strategy, and they re- 
solved to send some of their less important captives to Quebec, as a peace offering to Onontio. To 
more effectually conceal their duplicity, they placed these prisoners in the hands of Saonchiogwa, who 
had always been friendly towards the French, and whose sincerity would not be questioned at the 

Saonchiogwa willingly undertook this embassy, as he had long cherished the desire of entering 
the Church; and his visit to Quebec would bring him near his old friend, Chaumonot (2), who would 
instruct him, and prepare him for baptism at the hands of the bishop. As soon as he had fulfilled 
his duties as delegate to the council he gave his time and attention to the care of his soul, and placed 
himself in the hands of Father Chaumonot for instructions. As he had been the host of Mesnard and 
Carheil, at Cayuga, and had carefully listened to the truths they had taught, he was prepared in a 
very short time for admission to the Church. 

So sincere seemed Saonchiogwa in his resolution, and so comprehensive was his knowledge of 
Catholic teaching, that the bishop did not hesitate to confer on him the sacrament of baptism in the 
Cathedral, where he renounced the Pagan practices of his race. Talon, the Intendant, was his sponsor 
at baptism, when he received the Christian name of Louis. Talon then gave a grand banquet in honor 
of the neophyte, who was allowed to invite as his guests all the Iroquois, Hurons and Algonquins, at 

Many other Iroquois followed the example of Saonchiogwa, and came to Quebec where they 
could be instructed in Christianity without fear of molestation from their Pagan friends; and some 
of these remained there, in the new Indian community, after their reception into the Church, so they 
might practice their religion in peace. Christianity sank deep into their hearts when they could 
sacrifice the love and esteem of friends and fellow-countrymen, and could abandon their native land 
to follow the light of Faith. One generous Christian widow, who held a high hereditary rank (3) of 
importance among the Mohawks, left her home and kindred to seek more religious liberty among 
the French, and to have the opportunity of satisfying her spirit of piety and devotion in a Christian 
community. She was degraded from her rank, because she had renounced the customs of her country; 
but she did not grieve over this loss, as she prized more highly the name of Christian than the title of 

The genius of the Indian, de Lamberville says, is to follow no law but his own will, and to do only 
what his interests or wants suggest. He cannot, consequently, be made a Christian by argument; 
as the motives of credibility seem to make no impression on his mind. He can only be converted by 
two means : by gold and by iron; he must be won by presents, and held by force. The fear of a French 
army, or the hope of temporal gain has more influence upon his mind than the arguments of the Fathers. 

(1) Relations, 1671. 

(2) Saonchiogwa represented the Cayuga nation at the first council, held at Onondaga in 1656, to consider the 
treaty of peace with the Frencli, and the adoption of Christianity by the Iroquois; and he was one of the chiefs who 
replied favorably on this occasion to the proposals of Fathers Chaumonot and Dablon. 

(3) These were called Oianders by the French, and their office was of the same importance as that of the Ancients 
among the men. The office was hereditary, but it was retained only by common consent of the clans, and by the merit 
of the individual. They held councils to discuss state affairs, and their opinions were generally respected by the councils 
of the league. 


The Iroquois were not slow to perceive the difference in religion between the French, the English, 
and the Dutch; and as these Europeans had different beliefs, the Indians concluded they were all 
wrong. There were many, however, who understood and appreciated Christianity; who became 
members of the Church, and led exemplary lives. This was especially true of women, who had more 
time to learn the Christian doctrine, and a greater inclination to practice its precepts; yet there were 
many able men, like Garakontie, who were equally exemplary in their lives and firm in their attach- 
ment to the Church. 

The prominent men among the Iroquois who became Catholics must necessarily be sincere, as 
they were obliged to renounce the traditions of their race, and their action created a feeling against 
themselves which often resulted in temporal loss or social dishonor. 

Father de Lamberville understood something of the practice of medicine, and he was often able 
to render valuable aid to the sick Onondagas. He relates that on one occasion the medicine men 
were endeavoring to dispel the pain of a toothache with their magic art, as they said that some demons 
had taken possession of the tooth and must be driven out, when the Father extracted the tooth and 
relieved the patient, to the great surprise of an admiring throng. 

They held very strange notions about the causes of disease. They believed that evil spirits, or 
Otki, placed small pieces of wood, or pebbles, in the parts of the body where pain was located, or 
which was the seat of disease. Hence, cancer was a pebble inserted in the flesh by an enemy, or an 
Otki; rheumatism, or paralysis, was a long stick running through the joints and the nerves; and the 
skill of the medicine men and sorcerers was directed towards expelling these substances by counteracting 
the power which had inserted them. Sometimes the Onondagas sacrificed a dog to Agreskoue, or they 
threw tobacco into the fire, to propitiate the demons, and to induce them to cease tormenting the sick. 

Garakontie gave valuable advice to the Father about the character and disposition of the people 
who sought admission to the Church, and was a guide and councilor to the missioner in his dealings 
with the people. 

Father Carheil (1) went to Quebec on account of poor health, in 1671, and Father Raffeix took 
his place at Cayuga. Father Raffeix was charmed with the beauty of the Cayuga country, the most 
delightful he had seen in America, and was pleased with the inhabitants, whom he thought more 
tractable than the Onondagas or the Oneidas; but he did not think that they were yet prepared or 
disposed to enter the Church. He adopted a new method of teaching Christianity, by setting the 
articles of faith to music; and, as the Indians had good voices, correct ears, and a love for music they 
readily learned to sing these truths, and also the morning and evening prayers. Although he had no 
consolation or society, but a sense of duty and the presence of God, yet he requested his superiors to 
allow him to remain at Cayuga; but as Father Carheil returned to his mission from Quebec, he pro- 
ceeded to the Seneca country to assist Father Garnier. 

Father Carheil began, in 1673, to administer the sacrament of baptism to persons who were not 
in danger of death. He believed the nation was favorably disposed towards Christianity, and there 
was already a sufficient number of fervent Christians to encourage the neophytes to persevere. He 
was more disposed, also, to baptize healthy adults from the fact that many of these people believed 
that baptism was a seal of death, for many of the people died soon after receiving the sacrament. 

Examples of holy lives and true Christian spirit were to be found at Cayuga as well as among 
the other Iroquois nations; and these instances were not confined to the old men or the women of 
the nation, but the young warriors also showed they could appreciate the beauty and worth of Christi- 
anity. Such lives formed the greatest consolation and the only visible reward for the Father's zeal 
in his otherwise dreary life. 

There were three missions among the Senecas, although there were only two Fathers to attend 
them. Father Raffeix took charge of the missions of the Immaculate Conception towards the end of 
July, 1672, and Father Garnier attended St. Michael's andiSt. James'. There was no chapel at St. 
James' in 1672, though it was the largest of the villages, and many of the people there were obliged 
to go to St. Michael's on Sundays for instruction and mass. 

The year 1673 was one of the most peaceful and prosperous the missioners enjoyed in the Seneca 
country. The Christians were faithful in attending the chapels and in receiving the sacraments. The 
Pagans also came to hear the sermons and to pray, and many of them would, no doubt, become mem- 
bers of the Church, but they would not abandon the superstitious practices of their race, and especially 
the magic of the medicine men, as they knew no other way of healing the sick. 

(1) Father Carheil made a pilgrimage to St. Ann, at Beaupre, jvhich was even at that time celebrated. Shea, p. 294. 


Gamier was so busy at St. Michael's that he had little time to attend St. James', so he asked for 
another Father to take charge of the latter mission; and the Rev. James Pierron came as the first 
resident missioner to this populous town. 

Father Garnier says that "it is not immorality or vice, but their false ideas of Christianity, that 
keep many of the Senecas out of the Church;" for he knows more than two hundred families who 
lead comparatively good lives, and who would make exemplary Christians. Faith is a gift of God, 
and the Father continually prays that it will be given to these people. 

The Hurons of St. Michael's believed that peace between the Iroquois and French could not be 
permanent, for the distant rumblings of war were already heard; and they desired to leave the Seneca 
country and join their brethren near Quebec, or unite with their fellow Christians at the new settlement 
near Montreal, in forming an Indian Catholic colony. 

The confraternity of the Holy Family (1) was established in all of the missions, and effected much 
good, as it taught the neophytes how to form the family life according to the model Christian home. 

The conversions, however, were not very numerous among these people, and there was an under- 
current of ill will towards the missionaries and their teaching that might break into open violence at 
any moment. Some (2) think this hostility arose from the defeat of the Iroquois by the Andastes, 
while others (3) ascribe it to the influence of the Dutch at Albany, who in 1673 recovered New York 
from the English, and, desiring to preserve their ascendency over the Five Nations, openly advised 
them to drive the missionaries from their country, and to take up arms against the French. 

The Pagan Indians persecuted the missionaries, and labored to render their teachings and their 
mission odious; and their action prevented many from embracing Christianity, who were well instructed 
and who were free from the vices of their race. 

When the English regained New York, they claimed also the territory of the Five Nations, and the 
Fathers realized that their missions among the Iroquois must soon come to an end. 

From 1668 to 1678 the missionaries had baptized 2,221 Indians (4), but as the greater number 
of these were the sick and dying they did not very notably increase the Christian congregations in the 
Iroquois villages. 

The Iroquois clung to the sorcerers because they believed these could cure them when they were 
ill, but when they found that the sorcerers were powerless to help them they turned to the priest for 
consolation. At Onondaga a sick chief had tried in vain the art of the sorcerers to regain his health, 
and then he turned in despair to the priest for the same purpose. Father de Lamberville told him 
that his body was past healing, but his soul was also sick, and it must be healed if he wished to be at 
peace with the Master of Life and be happy after death. The chief was pleased with the Father's 
frankness, and he began to make immediate preparations for death. The thought of death did not 
disturb him, for he believed, with the Father's guidance and care, he would reach the Christian Heaven. 

There were many noble models of Christian lives at Onondaga to encourage the neophytes to 
persevere and to console them for the sacrifices they made in the practice of their faith. Some of 
the converts had left their homes to dwell at La Prarie, but the chiefs, and their friends, tried to induce 
them to return. One Onondaga Christian, who had been living for some time at La Prarie, followed 
her husband to their old home, whither he had returned at the solicitation of his friends. This man 
had been a catechumen at La Prarie, but at Onondaga he joined the Pagans in their drunken orgies, 
and soon fell back into their old vices and beliefs. They had one son, and to save this child from 
the liquor habit, and from the degrading vices of the Pagans, the Christian mother fled again to La 
Prarie, and left her husband to his fate. 

The Onondaga mission lost its most famous and most faithful convert in 1676, in the death of 
Garakontie. He was then far advanced in years, and he contracted a severe cold by coming some 
distance, in a storm, to attend the midnight mass (5). When he realized that his end was near he 
begged Father de Lamberville to prepare him for death. He gave his farewell banquet; and advised 
the nation to maintain peace with the French, to abandon their superstitions, and to become Christians 
(6). He wished to be buried like the French, in a plain coflSn; and he requested the Father to have 

(1) History repeats itself, and after two hundred years we find the Bishops of the province of New York urging 
the pastors to establish this confraternity in their parishes. 

(2) Relations. 

(3) Shea. 

(4) Shea, p. 304. 

(5) Shea, "The Catholic Church in Colonial Days. " 

(6) Relations, 1673-9. 



Rev. D. M. REILLY, 


OF REFUGE, Buffalo. 

(The late) Ret. MOTHER JOACHIM, 

Prioress, Monastery of Our Lady of Charity of Refuge 

(Good Sheperd,) Buffalo. 


(Good Sheperd,) Buffalo. 

(Good Sheperd,) Buffalo. 

^"0 ■' 





Rev. Wu. J. SCHRECK, 



Sisters of St. Joseph, Buffalo. 




Rev. H. M. LEDDY, Buffalo. 



Rev. Daniel Walsh, Rector. 



(first edifice.) 

Rev. M. J. KEAN, Buffalo. 

CHURCH OF ST. VINCENT, School and Rectory, Buffalo. 
Rev. W. J. Grill, Rector. 



Buffalo. Rev. Thos A. Donohue, D. D., Rector. 




ASSUMPTION CHURCH, Buffalo, Rev. L. Chodacki, Rector. 


Ladies of the Sacred Heart of Mary, Cleveland, Avenue, Buffalo. 



and St. Mary's Academy and Female Industrial School, 

Franklin Street, Buffalo. 

and Rectory, Buffalo. 


a large cross erected over his grave to remind the nations that he died a Christian. Whenever de Lam- 
berville visited him, during his illness, they prayed together, and his soul passed away amid the prayers 
of his friends. Scarcely a sin sullied his soul after he entered the Church, so exact was he in the observ- 
ance of the law of God; and once, when he became slightly inebriated with wine, he made a public 
apology for his unconscious fault (1). De Lamberville delivered an address at his grave, extolling 
his virtues, and urging his hearers to imitate the example of their most eloquent and influential 

Father Carheil possessed one of the greatest virtues of the Iroquois missioner — the virtue of 
patience — and this enabled him to gain many obstinate souls to God. He would visit the sick every 
day in a friendly or social manner for many months, doing deeds of kindness, and performing the 
most menial offices, until he gained the good will of the sufferer. It was only when he had won the 
affection of the patient that he spoke of the soul, and of the necessity of preparing for eternity. He 
visited a sick woman every day for two months, and she seemed pleased with his kindly interest in her 
welfare, but as soon as he spoke to her about religion she became angry and would no longer listen to 
him. The Father continued his good offices, however, and one day when she seemed to be in a pleasant 
mood he ventured to introduce the tabooed question; she immediately became excited, and attempted 
to scratch the Father's face, but her weak condition rendered her attack harmless. Carheil returned 
the next day and told the sick woman she had only a short time to live; she should, therefore, repent 
of her sins, and should prepare for baptism. Patience triumphed over obstinacy, and the persistent 
zeal of the Father was rewarded by the conversion of an obdurate soul (2). 

The happy death of their converts was the Fathers' sole reward for months of patient waiting and 
care. Father Carheil, at Cayuga, found in the happy Christian death of a young warrior ample com- 
pensation for months of self-sacrifice and toil. This young man had faithfully followed the instruc- 
tions of the Father, and he was gifted with an extraordinary spirit of prayer. During his last illness 
he wished to have Father Carheil constantly at his side, so they might converse on holy things and pray 
together; and when his soul passed away it was accompanied with the prayers of his teacher and 

Father Garnier had convinced the people of Gandougarae of the evil of liquor drinking, and 
drunkenness was very rare in the town ; but the Pagans still clung to their immoral dances and sorcery, 
and attachment to these customs withheld many from the Church. The Pagans knew no other method 
of overcoming disease than by sorcery, and the medicine men and sorcerers made a comfortable living 
by this means of healing; so they would not readily abandon these customs for Christianity which 
offered them no pecuniary compensation in return. Thorough conviction, therefore, of the truth of 
Christianity, and a spirit of self-sacrifice were necessary in the people to lead them to the new life. 

Some believed, but were not ready to make the sacrifice which their conviction enjoined. An 
intelligent Seneca, for instance, urged his sick relatives to become Christians, because then they would 
be worthy of Heaven. He was not a Christian himself, he said, but he had examined the teachings of 
the Black Robes, and he was convinced that they taught the truth. He was not yet prepared to abandon 
his old habits, but some day he would enter the Church. The Fathers found their most fertile field 
among the captives and slaves; because the lives of these were not linked with the traditions of their 
masters, nor were their habits formed by the customs of the Iroquois. They had not the opposition 
of relatives and friends to encounter in embracing Christianity, nor would they lose prestige by their 
new life. Christianity, moreover, consoled them in their present miserable life and promised them 
happiness in the future. 

Intelligent men among the Senecas believed in the doctrines taught by the missioners, but they 
knew it would be well nigh impossible to live up to this teaching amid dissolute Pagan environments. 
Those who resolved to accept the Gospel looked to a life at one of the Catholic settlements on the St 
Lawrence as their only hope; but this meant the loss of their rights as members of the Seneca nation 
and the Iroquois League, and few were willing to make this sacrifice. 

The Iroquois finally vanquished the Andastes, after a long and stubbornly contested war, and the 
subsequent peace gave the victorious Senecas leisure to look about for new enemies to conquer. They 
looked with disfavor upon the encroachments of the French. They had not forgotten that Onontio 
sailed up the river with an armed band to show them the feasibility of an invasion, and the new fort 
at Cataroquoi seemed a menace to their liberties. 

(1) He believed that brandy alone was intoxicating, and had never before tasted wine. 

(2) Relations, 1673-9. 


La Salle was sent by the governor, in May, 1673, to Onondaga (1), to allay any fear the Iroquois 
might have that the new fort was designed as an instrument of war. He was instructed to invite the 
Iroquois to send delegates to meet the governor at Keute (2), where they could greet the new Governor, 
and could ratify all the treaties made with the former representatives of the King of France. About 
two hundred Iroquois came; and at the meeting in July, 1673, the Governor told them he intended to 
build a storehouse on the spot which would serve as a trading post, where they could exchange their 
furs for French merchandise. He also advised them as a father to accept the teaching of the Black 
Robes who dwelt in their towns, and to become Christians, so they might be more intimately associated 
with the interests of the French. 

The object of this assembly was evidently to gain the good will of the Iroquois, and to divert 
their trade from the Dutch and English at Albany to the French merchants, who would establish their 
stores on the site of the new fort. 

The following year the French transferred the title of the fort (3) to La Salle, on condition that 
he should indemnify the government for the amount already expended, should keep a garrison (4) of 
twenty men, and should build a church within two years. The fort became another one of those 
trading posts which wrought such demoralization among the Pagans. 

The custom of drinking strong liquor was the greatest evil introduced by Europeans to the Indians 
of North America. The Indians depended upon the hunt for the furs which supplied their families 
with comfortable clothing, and which formed the chief staple of trade; but when they began to barter 
their furs for liquor their families began to suffer, and want and crime increased in the land. Not only 
furs but everything of marketable value was given for drink : the hunt was abandoned, for they had 
no arms ; the fishing was neglected, because the time was spent in drunken riot. 

The Fathers fought strenuously against the liquor traffic with the Dutch; and they succeeded in 
restraining the Christians from this habit, and they even lessened the evil among the Pagans, but they 
encountered a formidable obstacle in the French traders. The Dutch were not Catholics, and they 
were not supposed to refrain from selling liquor to Indians at the command of priests ; but the French- 
Catholic merchants pursued the traffic in defiance of the Church, and their example weakened the 
force of the priests' counsel against the practice, and the evil spread through the land. In vain did 
the Bishop of Quebec .plead with these merchants to desist, and he even inflicted the penalties of the 
Church when they refused to obey: the trade had the sanction of the civil authorities, and it would 
continue to flourish as long as there were large profits and a ready market. The Coureurs du Bois 
were, in many cases, itinerant rum-sellers, who carried liquor to the dwellings of the Indians when they 
were unable to reach the trading posts. The only restraint upon the Iroquois in the liquor evil was 
the influence of the Fathers, and this was on the wane, because the younger warriors were opposed 
to the encroachments of French domination. 

The great Garakontie had ever been the steadfast friend of France. In the Iroquois councils 
he had ever pleaded for alliance with the French; but now that his voice was still in death France 
had no friend to champion her cause among the Five Nations. Opposition to the presence of the 
Fathers had been increasing; they had been maltreated on several occasions, and they began to prepare 
for the coming storm. 

(1) LaSalle was advised to visit the other nations also, if he considered his presence in these places necessary. 
He visited the Senecas, and spent some time in their towns. 

(2) There was a Sulpician mission at Keute. The council was not held here, however; the Governor changed 
the meeting place to the site of the new fort. 

(3) This place was first called Fort Cataroquoi, but LaSalle changed this to Frontenac in honor of his patron. 

(4) Frontenac had no soldiers to garrison the fort, hence the King of France was more willing to transfer it to lay- 
men, and relieve the colonists from this unnecessary burden and expense. 



|HEN the Dutch took possession of the country between the Iroquois region and the sea, and 
estabhshed trading posts at Manhattan (1) and Renselaerswick (2), they entered into an 
aUiance with the Iroquois, which continued firm and friendly until Dutch power was 
supplanted by British rule. The honest Hollanders were content to barter their rum, 
their fire-arms, and their trinkets with the Iroquois for the valuable furs which these 
obtained in the hunt; and they did not exert themselves to teach the Indians the arts of civilized life, 
or the religion of Christ. 

When the French missioners, therefore, first came to the Iroquois cantons the easy-going Dutch 
were indifferent to their presence, except to make some disparaging remarks to the Indians about the 
work and teachings of the Fathers, or to intercede for them when they were captives in danger of death. 

The English got possession of New York in 1664, and they immediately gained the good will of 
the Iroquois by acts of kindness, and by a treaty which was never directly broken. 

England and France were the great rival powers of Europe; and they were at continual war for 
supremacy and an extension of their sway. They brought their quarrels with them to the New World, 
and both nations struggled and intrigued for the allegiance and friendship of the Iroquois Indians. 
The English resorted to diplomacy and intrigue to attain their end ; whilst the French tried to overawe 
the Iroquois with their power, and to reduce them to subjection by force of arms (3). The benefit 
which England and France hoped to obtain from alliance with the Iroquois, was a monopoly of trade 
with those nations in time of peace, and their support in war. 

Explorers and discoverers, after Columbus, had visited different parts of the New World in search 
of wealth and fame, and they soon found that the most accessible riches were the valuable furs they 
could purchase from the various Indian nations, with the cheap commodities of civilized life. French 
enterprise soon secured a monopoly of the trade. Along the waters of the St. Lawrence and the Ottawa 
rivers for hundreds of miles, their daring traders sped in search of furs, whilst the missioners kept pace 
with them in quest of souls. The Indians soon learned the importance of the fur trade, and every 
stream leading to the French trading posts that would carry their light bark canoes on its bosom, bore 
many a load of rich furs destined for the European markets. The only way of transporting these 
goods was by the rivers and lakes that led to the trading posts that had been established along the 
banks of the St. Lawrence and the Hudson rivers. Often they encountered falls in the rivers, or they 
came to an end of the lake; but their canoes were light, and two men could carry them on their shoul- 
ders over the portages, whilst some of the party carried the furs in the same manner. The transporta- 
tion of large quantities of furs would have been impossible except by the Indian method along the 
water routes, as there were, no beasts of burden in the country, nor any roadways but the narrow trail 
through the forests that the Indian used in hunting or in war. 

The French early established trading posts at Quebec, at Three Rivers and at Montreal; and 
these were the most convenient points of barter for large quantities of furs in the New World. To 
these places every year with their fur-laden canoes came the Abnakis of the present Eastern States; 
the great Algonquin family, whose numerous tribes extended from the Atlantic to the Mississippi; 
the Montagnais of Lower Canada; the Hurons from Georgian Bay; the Nippisiriens, the Ottawas, 
the Petuns and the Tionnontates of the North and West; and an occasional Iroquois party, bent 
more on taking scalps than bartering peltry. 

The most valuable fur was the beaver; and, as these were rare in the land of the Iroquois, large 
bands of well-armed warriors from the different nations of the League invaded the territory of their 
neighbors in search of the valuable beaver. 

(1) New York. 

(2) Albany. 

(3) Golden. 


Other nations were not disposed to submit tamely to these encroachments of the Iroquois on their 
hunting grounds, but attempted to repel these poachers by force. This led to many petty wars ; and 
as the French had secured the friendship of the most important fur-trading tribes, they became in- 
volved in these quarrels, as they furnished arms to their allies to protect their trade in furs. 

The Iroquois sold their deer and bear skins to the Dutch or the English at Albany; and these 
encouraged them in their depredations on the beaver territory of their neighbors; and, consequently, 
prejudiced them against the French. 

The English wished to secure this trade, as they could sell the stronds and duffels of the Indian 
trade much cheaper than the French; but the acute diplomacy of the latter kept the fur-trading nations 
at war with the Iroquois, so that they could not bring their furs to Albany, through the territory of 
their enemies. 

The French missioners wielded considerable influence over the actions of the Indians, and they 
would naturally counsel the Iroquois to trade with their fellow-countrymen along the St. Lawrence. 
The English and the Dutch believed that the presence of the French missionaries was an obstacle to 
their trade with the Indians, and they used means to banish them from the Iroquois country. 

Governor D'ongan, of New York, asked authority from the King of England to erect forts upon the 
Delaware, the Susquehanna, and the Niagara rivers; to assist the Iroquois in their forays upon the 
beaver territory of their neighbors; to protect the Indians who wished to trade with the English; and 
to secure British right to these regions. He says the French claim as far as the Bay of Mexico: "For 
which they have no other argument, than that they had possession this twenty years, by their Fathers 
living so long among the Indians. They have Fathers still among the Five Nations, and have con- 
verted many of them to the Christian faith, and done their utmost to draw them to Canada, where 
there are already six or seven hundred, and more like to go, to the great prejudice of this government 
if not prevented. I have prevailed with the Indians to consent to come back from Canada, on condi- 
tion that I procure for them a piece of land, and furnish them with priests. I have procured the land 
and have promised the Indians that they shall have priests, and that I will build them a church. 

"By that means the French priests will be obliged to retire to Canada whereby the French will 
be divested of their pretence to the country, and then we shall enjoy that trade without any fear of 
being diverted (1)." 

The (2) priests promised by Dongan never came, but in their stead came some Protestant minis- 
ters, who labored for a time, with indifferent success, among the Iroquois. 

England and France were rival powers in Europe, and, on several occasions, their hostilities had 
been transferred to their colonies in the New World. At such times each government employed the 
Indians as guides to lead them through the forests, or as scouts to discover the hidden strongholds or 
ambushes of the enemy, and as the Indians learned the use of fire-arms they became valuable allies 
or most formidable foes. 

The Iroquois were the most powerful and warlike of all the North American Indians, and their 
supremacy was acknowledged by all the nations within hundreds of miles of their homes. Their 
territory lay between the English possessions in the South and the French colonies of Canada, and 
their friendship would be very valuable in the event of war between these two nations. The English 
feared the ascendency of French influence over the Iroquois through the presence of the French priests, 
and they began to discredit their mission, and to intrigue for their banishment from the Iroquois 
country. The Fathers induced the Iroquois to make peace with the Indian allies of the French, so 
that these would be free to bring their furs to the French trading posts; whilst the English wished 
them to make war on these Indians, to destroy this trade and to divert the Iroquois from attacking the 
English colonies of Maryland and Virginia. 

Shortly after Dongan became governor of New York, he claimed all south of the lakes as English 
territory, and wished to make the Iroquois acknowledge allegiance to the crown of England. He 
well knew that Indian independence would not brook such a burden, so he taught them that English 
supremacy was necessary to protect them from the attacks and rapacity of the French. He had the 
arms of the Duke of York placed over the castles of the Iroquois, and he told them the French would 
not dare to attack their towns while they bore the symbol of British rule (3). Though a Catholic 

(1) Governor Dongan's report on the state of Province. 

(2) Dongan asked for priests, and three English Jesuits were sent to New York, where they started a Latin school. 
Doc. Hist. N. Y. 

(3) Golden. 


himself, he advised the Iroquois to expel the French Jesuits from their land, and he would send them 
English priests to teach them Christianity (1). He also urged them to bring back their brethren from 
the Catholic settlements on the St. Lawrence; and he offered them assistance and protection if they 
would settle near the waters of Saratoga Lake. 

Although the Christian Iroquois had the greatest faith in their missionaries, and the greatest love 
and reverence for their persons; yet the Pagans cherished the memory of many hostile deeds against 
the French, and they were disposed to cast their lot with the English, and banish the French Fathers 
from their land. 

Some Frenchmen had murdered and robbed six Iroquois — three men, two women, and a child — - 
near Montreal, on account of the valuable furs they possessed, and shortly after some soldiers mur- 
dered and robbed a Seneca chief for the same reasons ; and although the governor had these murderers 
put to death, yet the Iroquois did not forget these deeds, and they attacked a French fort in Illinois. 

The Mohawks and the Senecas seemed to be more especially under the influence of English 
agents, while the other nations were disposed to side with the French. 

The Christian Iroquois could not preserve their faith in the presence of the bad example and the 
vices of their Pagan brethren, and in the face of the opposition of the English and Dutch when the 
missionaries would be driven from the field; so the Fathers induced many of their spiritual children 
to abandon their homes, and, in many cases, their kindred, and to emigrate to the new Catholic Indian 
settlements near Montreal, where they would be free to practice their religion and worship God. 

Large numbers from the different nations settled at these places and formed communities which 
gave to the Church many saintly lives, and to the world noble examples of eminent virtue. This 
desertion of the Catholic Iroquois from their country aroused the anger of the Pagans against the 
Fathers, because it weakened the power of their race, and was opposed to the policy of the league (2). 

The English, also, actuated by motives of self-interest, urged the Iroquois to oppose this emigra- 
tion, and to treat the deserters as traitors to their race. 

The Mohawks were more directly under the influence of the English than the other Iroquois, and 
it was from this nation also that the greatest number of defections took place. The wife of Kryn, the 
, great Mohawk chief, became a Christian, and to escape the anger of her lord she went to live at the 
new mission at Prarie le Madeleine. Kryn wandered away through the forest, part in anger, part in 
sorrow, till he came to the new community on the St. Lawrence, where he was so enchanted with the 
strange and beautiful lives of these neophytes that he, too, begged to be received as a member. After 
receiving baptism he returned to the Mohawk country, where he induced about forty of his fellow- 
countrymen, mostly Christians, to leave their native land and emigrate to the Prarie. There were 
very few Christians left in the Mohawk country in 1679, and Father Bruyas, the superior of the Iro- 
quois missions, found that prejudice was so strong against him that his influence was destroyed, and 
as he was in danger of death, with the Rev. James de Lamberville, he retired to Onondaga. The 
Rev. Francis Vaillant de Gueslis, however, remained at Tionnontaguen until 1681, when the inimical 
influence of the English forced him to leave. Most of the Christians had abandoned their Mohawk 
homes for the new Catholic settlements along the St. Lawrence River, and with the departure of the 
Fathers the Mohawk mission of Our Lady of Martyrs was closed forever. 

The Seneca towns were the most distant from the French settlements ; and as the Senecas did not 
engage very extensively in the fur trade they did not often come in friendly contact with the French, 
and they were, consequently, but lightly swayed by the brilliant authority of Onontio (3). 

The Seneca region was very fertile, producing immense quantities of corn, which the Senecas 
bartered with the neighboring nations for the furs which were so rare in their own land. They made 
war upon the Indian nations that traded with the French, and as these obtained their fire-arms at 
Quebec and Montreal, the Senecas naturally looked upon the French as the enemies of their race. 
The Senecas made war upon the fur-trading nations of Western and Northern Canada, and intercepted 
their rich fur-laden canoes on their way to the trading posts on the St. Lawrence. 

The English encouraged the Senecas in this warfare, and furnished them with fire-arms at a mere 
nominal cost, to weaken the influence of the French, and to destroy their fur trade, or divert part of 
it to the English posts on the Hudson. 

(1) O'Callaghan thinks Dongan was sincere in promising English priests, as the English register of the Jesuits 
shows that the priests of the order were in New York in 16S5-6. 

(2) It was the policy of the league to increase their numbers by the adoption of captives. 

(3) The Indian name for the Governor of Canada. 


When La Salle came to the Niagara River in 1678, with Father Hennepin and a number of men, 
to build the first vessel to sail the upper lakes, he sought by treaty or by guile to secure permission 
from the Senecas to erect a fort on the river to protect his prospective trade with the West. He soon 
learned that the Senecas would not allow a fort to be erected on their domain; so he beguiled them 
with the belief that he merely intended to erect a shop in which they might find a blacksmith, who 
would repair their guns and manufacture for them the iron implements of war. He erected a building, 
but it was intended for a storehouse, which could easily be converted into a fort if he were successful 
in his expedition on the upper lakes. The Senecas viewed with alarm the building of the Griffon, 
which appeared to them as an immense war canoe; as they saw in this an extension of the power of 
the French and an enlargement of their trade with the western nations, so they attempted more than 
once to burn the vessel before it was complete. No blacksmith remained to repair their guns when 
the Griffon sailed; and when they saw they were deceived, they retaliated, some time after, by burning 
the quarters La Salle intended for a fort. 

A Seneca chief had been wantonly robbed and murdered by French soldiers, and although the 
soldiers were shot yet the Senecas manifested their spirit of resentment by attacking a French fort in 

With the memory of these different grievances rankling in their hearts, the Senecas were not dis- 
posed to be friendly towards the Fathers, and they began to show in many ways that the missioners 
were not wanted in their land. 

Governor de le Barre made preparations in 1683 to humble this haughty race, and to punish them 
for their interference with the fur trade, and for their repeated attacks upon the Indian friends of the 
French. The Fathers well knew that their lives would not be safe in the event of war; so they quietly 
made preparations to leave their little bark chapels in the hands of the Christians, and retire from 
the field, in which they had not reaped an over-abundant harvest, with the hope of returning when the 
storm had passed. 

Governor de le Barre came to Cataroquoi in 1684 with an army of French and Indians, to defeat 
the Senecas; but as an epidemic broke out among the soldiers he decided to agree upon terms of peace 
with the Iroquois. All the nations were invited to send delegates to the council at Cataroquoi, but 
only representatives from Oneida, Onondaga and Cayuga came, as these cantons were still under the 
influence of the French priests (1). The Mohawks and the Senecas were induced by the English not 
to send their representatives to the council. 

Governor Dongan held a council of the Iroquois in July, 1684, to induce them to make a treaty 
of peace with Lord Howard, the English Governor of Virginia, in favor of his colony in the South. 
Dongan advised the Iroquois on this occasion to place their towns under the protection of the royal 
arms of England, and he also counseled them to bring back to their old homes the Christian Iroquois 
who had emigrated to the settlements near Montreal, or if they would not return to treat them as 
traitors to their race (2). 

The threatened invasion of the French, and the influence of the English, so incited the Cayuga 
Pagans against the French that they began to ill-treat Father Carheil; and they finally robbed him 
and forced him to leave the canton. About the same time Father Millet left his mission among the 
Oneidas, and proceeded to the camp of the French governor at Cataroquoi. 

The Fathers had now closed all the missions in the Iroquois country except the chapel at Onon- 
daga; and here the two brothers, Fathers James and John de Lamberville still labored, enjoying the 
confidence of this nation which remained faithful to French interests. 

De la Barre had patched up a sort of peace with the Iroquois; but it was never ratified by the 
Senecas, nor respected by the other nations, and after the council at Albany a force of Iroquois started 
on the war-path against the Ottawas, friends of the French. 

The Marquis Denonville succeeded De la Barre as Governor of Canada in 1685, and he determined 
to subjugate the Iroquois as the only means of securing peace for the French and prosperity for their 
trade. Colonel Dongan, Governor of New York, was in the meantime inciting the Iroquois against 
the French, and he endeavored to obtain possession of Father James de Lamberville, the only priest (3) 
then among the Five Nations; but the Onondagas would not allow him to leave until an act of base 
deception on the part of Denonville compelled the last priest to leave the Iroquois country. Denonville 

(1) Golden. 

(2) Golden, p. 52. 

(3) Father John de Lamberville had gone to Canada. 


was secretly preparing to attack the Senecas, and, to more thoroughly conceal his design, he 
invited, through Father de Lamberville (1), delegates from the Iroquois to meet him at Cataroquoi. 
The nations sent their delegates, chiefs, and orators, to meet the new governor, who, with barbarous 
treachery, of which the Indians would scarcely be capable, cast them into prison and sent them to 
France as galley slaves, or as captives to the French King. 

Father de Lamberville had been made the innocent instrument of this cruel deception, but it 
cost him his mission, and it nearly cost him his life. The Onondagas had the utmost confidence in 
his integrity, and they believed him when he told them that he was not aware of the evil designs of 
Denonville when he invited their delegates to the council; but they decided that he should leave their 
land. They allowed him to depart in peace, and thus the last missioner left the country of the Iroquois, 
and the missions were closed after twenty years of successful existence. 

Denonville made preparations in the early spring of 1687 for his expedition against the Senecas, 
and June 13th he set out from Montreal with about sixteen hundred French soldiers and four hundred 
Indians (2), and started up the river in small boats and canoes towards the land of the Senecas. July 
1st they reached Cataroquoi, where they remained until July 4th, when they proceeded to Irondequoit 
Bay, where they were to meet the French and the Indians from the West. Thence they continued 
their march along the Indian trail through the oak forest, on the western shore of the bay to Ganna- 
garo (3), the first of the Seneca villages, where they gave battle to a force of the Senecas and defeated 
them. The Senecas fled; and the French and their Indian allies burned and demolished the cabins 
in the different towns, and destroyed immense quantities of corn (4). Having completed the work of 
destruction, Denonville proceeded to the Niagara River where he built a fort, and left a garrison of 
one hundred men with Father de Lamberville as chaplain; but a sickness broke out among the men 
by which nearly all perished. 

The Iroquois retaliated for this wanton destruction of their homes and property by a renewal of 
near their old system of warfare against the French, and they also waged war on the Christian Iroquois 
Montreal, who had fought with Denonville in the invasion of their country. Love for their old homes 
and kindred was still strong among the Christian Iroquois, and many of them were inclined to leave 
Caughnawaga, or the Two Mountains, and cast their lot with their own race; but Kryn, the Mohawk 
chief, vehemently opposed removal, as it meant a probable loss of faith, and the missions were saved. 

In July, 1688, the Senecas attacked the Canadian colony at La Chine and killed two hundred; 
and they also attacked the Christian Iroquois at Two Mountains and at Caughnawaga, and forced 
them to fly to Montreal for protection. As the English had instigated this attack, Kryn, the Mohawk 
chief, with some Iroquois and French, retaliated by attacking the English settlement at Schenectady, 
and killing many of the inhabitants. 

These acts of hostility tended to exasperate the representatives of the English and French powers, 
and Governor Dongan called a council of the Five Nations at Albany, and advised them not to allow 
any more French priests to enter their territory, as they worked against the interests of the Iroquois 
and of England. 

Frontenac succeeded Denonville as Governor of New France in 1689, and he immediately tried 
to patch up a peace with the Iroquois through the chiefs whom he had brought back with him from 
France; but the Iroquois were too much under the influence of the English to yield to any terms sub- 
mitted by the French. War broke out the next year between England and France, and the Iroquois 
joined the ranks of their English neighbors. 

After leaving the fort on the Niagara River built by Denonville, Father Millet went to Cataroquoi, 
where he labored among the neighboring Indians, and assisted as chaplain at the fort. In June, 1689 
a band of Iroquois approached the fort, declared that peace had been made at Montreal, and asked' 
for a priest and a physician to attend to their sick and wounded. Father Millet and the resident 
physician went out to meet this band, on an errand of mercy, when they were immediately seized as 
prisoners of war, and were carried off to the home of the Iroquois. 

There were some Oneidas among this band of warriors who were well acquainted with Father 
Millet, and they were also aware of the love their own people had for this priest; so they protected 

(1) Father John who had replaced his brother. 

(2) Among the Indians were about one hundred and fifty Christian Iroquois from the settlements near Montreal, 
who went to fight against their former fellow-countrymen. 

(3) St. James. Seep. 12. 

(4) Denonville estimates that they destroyed 1,200,000 bushels. (Marshall). 


him from any harm and brought him to their own canton, where he was adopted as a member of the 
nation and was made a sachem of one of the clans (1). He had no sacred vestments, nor sacred ves- 
sels for the altar, and could not celebrate mass ; but the few Christians still living here, and some from 
the other nations, gathered around him to converse with him and to receive the sacrament of penance. 
He had a little chapel in a grotto, dedicated to the Dying Saviour, and here he recited prayers on Sun- 
day and at morning and evening, for those who chose to come, and he also taught them, unmolested, 
the doctrines he had taught in their town as an accredited minister of Christ. 

The English feared the influence of his presence, and they sought by strategy to bring him to 
the Mohawk country where he would be in their power. They sent some Mohawk messengers to 
invite him to their towns to attend to the Christians there; but his Oneida friends would not allow 
him to depart as they feared treachery, and they told the Mohawks he could always be found in his 
little chapel at Oneida (2). 

Millet remained here until 1694, when peace was concluded and he returned to Quebec. War 
broke out again the next year, and Frontenac led a force of over two thousand French and Indians 
into the country of the Onondagas and the Oneidas, and compelled them to sue for peace. 

Hostilities between the English and French ceased with the peace of Ryswick in 1697, and pros- 
perity once more appeared in the land. The husbandman was allowed to till the soil, and the trader 
to trafiic in furs. 

The Iroquois also made friendly overtures to the French shortly after, and the prospects seemed 
bright for a renewal of the former successful missions among these people; but the hatred engendered 
by religious differences now (arose to prevent the return of Catholic priests. 

The English Governor, Bellomont, had a law passed by the New York Legislature, in 1700, mak- 
ing it a penal offense for any priest to be found in the territory subject to the King, and punishable 
with perpetual imprisonment; and anyone who harbored a Catholic priest was subject to a fine of 
two hundred and fifty pounds (3). In the latter part of August the Governor called the Five Nations 
to a council, at which he told them he had sent for ministers to come to instruct them; and he advised 
them to capture any Jesuits they found in their land and bring them to Albany. 

Fathers Bruyas went to Onondaga with the French representative, after the peace of Ryswick, 
to negotiate the exchange of prisoners, and during the council he gave a belt as a pledge that he would 
come back to them, to live amongst them as a missionary; but the Iroquois council would not accept 
the belt, as they had already accepted one from the English Governor, who promised to send Protestant 
ministers to instruct them (4). Father Bruyas attended the Iroquois council again in 1701, and 
endeavored to relume the fading light of faith, but how willing soever the Indians may have been to 
see the Fathers among them once more, they feared the power and authority of the English Governor, 
who exerted all his energies to prevent a revival of the missions. 

The next year, 1702, the Iroquois of their own accord responded to the invitation of Father Bruyas, 
and asked the missionaries to come again to their people. 

Father James de Lamberville was elected for Onondaga, whilst Revs. Julian Garnier and Vail- 
lant de Gueslis proceeded to the Seneca villages near the Genesee. In October, 1702, the chapels were 
again opened and the word of God was announced to these erratic children of the forest (5). 

The English did not view with any good will the presence of the missionaries among the Iroquois, 
and they began secretly to prejudice the minds of the Indians against the French in general, and the 
Fathers in particular. They succeeded, finally, in 1709, in forcing them to leave the Iroquois country 
forever, and to relinquish the field which had been so productive of joy and sorrow, of pleasure and 
pain ; which had sent so many saints to Heaven, yet in which, through the enmities of civilized powers, 
the harvest was never fully reaped. English infiuence over the Iroquois practically excluded the 
French missionaries from their country, and many of the Indians fell back into Paganism, or listened 
with indifference and incredulity to the preaching of some paid preachers of Protestantism, who aban- 
doned the field as soon as their salary ceased; whilst many others preserved the faith even in their 
wanderings, and when deprived of all external aids, till love through death supplanted faith and hope. 

(1) Golden. 

(2) Lettre du Pere Millet. 

(3) Shea, p. 357. 

(4) Golden, p. 201. 

(5) N. Y., Vol. Doc. IX., p. 737, and Charlevoix History of New France, p. 153. 



|EFORE the advent of the missionaries the Iroquois were cannibals, and often had the Fathers 
witnessed the cruel spectacle of some unfortunate slave, or one of their own captive com- 
panions, being roasted on the spit, or thrown into a large caldron of boiling water to be 
cooked and devoured by these savages. The Fathers taught them the sacredness of human 
life, and the abomination of devouring the flesh of their fellow beings ; and in deference to thisteaching 
of the missionaries, and the wishes of the French, they buried the caldron, and promised to renounce 
this barbarous practice forever. To hate an enemy the Iroquois considered one of the noblest virtues, 
but as they were taught that men are all brothers and children of the same eternal Father, they learned 
to have, at least, a moderate degree of love for their fellow beings, and were known to forgive and even 
to pray for their enemies. The Indian had but a very confused notion of God or of the soul, and his 
idea of God, the highest being, Master of life, did not include any religious relations towards the Su- 
preme Being, any moral obligations towards his fellow-man, or accountability for his acts. His mind 
did not rise above nature, and he recognized no moral restraint except the advice of the Ancients, or 
the power of an enemy; nor did he know any force except the visible and animal of this world. When 
the waters, therefore, devastated their fields it was because some evil okki had destroyed their dams ; 
and when a storm arose it was because some unknown animals, living in the caverns and dens of the 
earth, had removed the opening from the caves of winds and allowed them to fly over forest, lake, and 
moorland. Though the greater part of the Iroquois did not become Christians, yet they seemed to 
have generally adopted the ideas of God as taught by the missionaries, as a new name, Haw-wen-ne-yu, 
was adopted to express the new belief; and Thoronhiawagon, their old deity, was relegated to the 
class of genii, or spirits ; while the name and worship of Agreskoue, the sun, had entirely disappeared 
years before the Fathers had left the field. They (1) also seemed to have unconsciously adopted 
many of the truths of Christianity and principles of morality as taught by the missionaries ; as they 
were found many years afterwards advocating these truths as a part of their traditions, and practicing 
works of piety which they could only have learned from the Jesuits. At one of their councils, held at 
Tonawanda, chief John Skye made a very long speech on moral matters, and on the religious traditions 
of his race. In conclusion he said: "You must not do bad, you must not speak bad, you must not 
think bad; for the Great Spirit knows your thoughts as well as your words and deeds." Some of 
them were accustomed to rise during the night to pray (2). This teaching and this custom must 
have been some of the lingering rays of the light spread through tlieir land by their first teachers, 
the Jesuits. The missionaries also endeavored to teach them the arts of civilized life, as they became 
Christians and would undoubtedly have succeeded in both had not the Enghsh, Dutch and French 
transferred their political and religious strife to American soil, and so bewildered the poor Indians 
by their con-flicting interests and theories that they could not place implicit confidence in the words 
of any of the Europeans (3). 

The Indians of North America might long since have been a civilized and Christian race if the 
governments of Europe, through their agents, had not interfered with the Catholic missionaries in 
their work of redeeming these savage children of the forest. The missionaries were always sincere 
and unselfish in their dealings with the Indians; and their presence and labors among these dusky 
tribes were the noblest, and almost the only, redeeming feature in the relations of the two races, whose 
history on the part of the whites is but a narrative of debauchery, of treachery, and of deceit. Thou- 
sands of the Iroquois blessed the coming of the Catholic missionaries, as through them they subdued 
their passions, triumphed over the vices of their race, and obtained the happiness of Heaven (4) ; whilst 

(1) Alden, Missions. 

(2) Alden. 

(3) Parkman. 

(4) Dablon. The relations only continued to 1672, but Father Dablon, who was superior of the mission, wrote an 
account of their labors from 1672 to 1679, which was published in 1860. 



even the Pagans held the Black Robes in reverence, although they did not profit by their presence, but 
were whirled along with the great mass of their race, without grace or God, like so many of their white 
brethren, towards the happy hunting ground, where they believed they would hunt the deer and fight 
their foes. 

Many of the adult Christians gave strong proof of the firmness of their faith, not only by assisting 
the Fathers to instruct the catechumens, but by leaving home and kindred and emigrating to the new 
settlements near Montreal, where they could preserve and practice their faith. 

Many individual examples could be given which would show that the Iroquois Christians realized 
and^ appreciated the truth and beauty of Christianity; as they sacrificed their lives for the faith with 
all the fervor, resignation, and love, displayed by the early martyrs of the Church. Among the Chris- 
tian Iroquois who had emigrated to the Sault was Stephan Te Ganonakoa, and his young family. 
In August, 1690, he set out with a party of friends for the usual fall hunt, but shortly after they were 
attacked by a band of Cayugas, and Stephan and his wife were led captives to Onondaga (1). Here 
they were tortured with all the cruelty which these people inflict upon the enemies of their race, because 
they had abandoned their country for Christianity. They inflicted upon him the most cruel tortures 
to compel him to renounce Christianity and return to his native home; but he remained firm and 
endured the torments until death, with the stoicism of the Indian and the fortitude of the Christian 
martyr. He begged only for time to pray; and then he urged them to proceed with their torments, 
for his sins deserved punishment, and the more severe were his sufferings here the greater would be 
his reward in Heaven. 

Two years later Frances Ganannhatenha, an Iroquois living at the Sault, was captured and taken to 
Onondaga where the nails were torn from her hands ; the sign of the cross was cut on her bosom with 
a tomahawk; she was burned at the stake; her scalp was torn off, and hot ashes were placed on her 
head; yet, whilst the savages were inflicting these cruelties, she prayed and advised her tormentors 
to become Christians. 

The next year a young Indian woman of twenty-four years, whose home was at the Sault, was 
captured by the Pagans; and when she realized what cruelty awaited her she cried out that her sins 
merited whatever punishment they could inflict on her; and she prayed the Lord would give her 
strength to suffer for her sins. She was burned at the stake, and as the fierce flames arose around her 
frail form, with her dying breath she gently murmured the names of Jesus, Mary and Joseph (2). 

Stephan Aonwentsiatewet, a young man who dwelt at the Sault, was captured by the Mohawks, 
and was hurried off to their towns to be tortured. He had influential friends among the Mohawks, 
and his life was saved. He was urged to live like the Pagans, to adopt their customs and practice 
their vices, but he refused. He saw that it was impossible for him to practice his faith among Pagans, 
so he resolved to escape. He was recaptured, and, after a prayer for his friends and for his torturers, 
he was put to death (3). 

The humble Mohawk maiden, Catherine Tekakwitha, led a most remarkable life of fervor and 
devotion, and she added lustre to the glory of the Church in the New World by the virtues which 
adorned her soul. Her life was proof that children of the forest, reared amid Pagan surroundings, 
are as capable of the highest degree of Christian perfection as those who enjoy the advantages of 
refined education and civilized society. Her tomb at the Sault became a shrine to which thousands 
of her own race as well as Europeans came to pay their tribute of respect to a holy virgin, whose beauti- 
ful life entitled her name to be enrolled among the number of the saints. Many also came with their 
sorrows and their ills, and through her intercession they obtained miraculous favors (4). 

The missioners baptized more than 4,000 (5) adults and children during the years they labored in 
the Iroquois country. Fully 1,500 emigrated from the Iroquois cantons to the Catholic settlements 
on the St. Lawrence River, where they have practiced their religion with fidelity to the present day. 

The king of France had early expressed a desire to have the children of New France educated 
like the children of Europeans, and to adopt the manners and customs of civilized life. Many of the 
wealthy nobles and the pious ladies of France had contributed generously towards the establishment 

(1) Kip, p. 121. Kip was a Protestant Bishop, who admired the self sacrifice and devotion of the missionaries and 
the heroic virtues of the CathoHc Iroquois. 

(2) Kip, p. 129. 

(3) Burtin, "Vie deCatlierine Tekakwitha." 

(4) Kip, p. 114 

(5) Dablon. 


of seminaries of learning at Quebec, for the training of Indian boys and girls. The king hoped by 
this means to make the Indians loyal subjects of France, and the pious ladies wished to see them faithful 
children of the Church. 

The Jesuits believed that the Christian education of some of the Huron youths would greatly 
facilitate their work in converting these people; so they started at Quebec, in 1635, a little seminary 
which they called the "Seminaire des Hurons." Father Daniel and Father NicoU brought some 
promising children from the Huron country and placed them in this seminary, but some soon died, 
and the others fled from the institution. Some AlgonquLns and some Montagnais were also admitted, 
but they did not take kindly to the study of books. 

The Ursullnes came to Quebec in 1639, and they immediately began the work of educating all 
the girls, of whatever race, that they could induce to come within the sacred precinct of their convent 
walls. They especially desired to educate and dualize the Huron and Algonquin girls, who were 
amenable to their teachings. The celebrated Marie de 1' Incarnation, the superior of the convent, 
was well fitted for this work, as she knew the Huron and Algonquin languages well, and was devoted 
to the enlightenment and elevation of the Indian girls. 

From the time the seminaries were established at Quebec and Montreal the Fathers had sent some 
of the brightest young Indian boys and girls they could find in their respective missions to these schools, 
so that they might be instructed in the arts of civilization, and taught the truths of Christianity; and 
then when they graduated from these seminaries, and returned to their forest homes, they might also 
become missioners in civilizing and Christianizing the Indian nations. Peace with the Iroquois gave 
the Fathers an opportunity of placing many of the young boys from the Five Nations in the seminaries 
at Montreal and Quebec, and several of the girls in the convent of the Ursuline nuns ; and in this way 
they hoped to spread the light of progress and of faith among these benighted people, and teach them 
to adopt the customs and practices of civilized life. 

The Indians could not be expected to pay anything for an education they did not appreciate, and 
the work of sustaining these institutions devolved on the pious ladies of France, who religiously and 
generously contributed towards the conversion of these savages. There was an inherent charm in the 
untrammeled freedom of Indian life that firmly wedded these people to their forest homes. No 
inducements of civilized life could lead them from the traditional customs and occupations of their 
race. The commercial activity of civilized communities was for them an intolerable prison life, whilst 
they utterly despised the tillers of the soil. They gloried only in the hunt or in war, and when they 
visited the Europeans it was to barter their furs for arms and ammunition or for rum, or to lie on the 
ground and gaze in idle curiosity and scorn at the busy lives of the merchants and traders. 

The children of these people could not brook the restraint of convent life, and when they seemed 
content with their surroundings, at an unguarded moment, they would scale the walls and fly like 
deers to their forest homes (1). 

Marie de 1' Incarnation says that it was almost impossible to civilize them, as scarcely one out 
of a hundred children who passed through their hands would adopt the manners and customs of Euro- 
pean life. 

The Iroquois were the most implacable foes of the French, yet, paradoxical as it may seem, their 
girls were the most docile pupils of the convent. When the Catholic Iroquois began to settle on the 
St. Lawrence, some of their girls went to live with the sisters, where they learned the arts and sciences 
of civilized life; and some of them joined the community and became exemplary and saintly nuns. 

As the Indian converts learned more of Christianity they valued education more highly, because 
they found that books were an important factor in the preservation of their faith. Little works on 
Christian doctrine were published in the Huron, Iroquois and Algonquin languages, and schools were 
started in the Catholic Indian settlements, in which all who wished could learn to read and write in 
their own tongue (2). 

The first schools for Indians were located in large towns; but as these were not successful many 
thought they would be more prosperous if they were placed in the country, away from the turmoil of 
the town, where the Indian youth could have the fields and the forests to engage in the pastimes of 
their homes. There were three little isles in the St. Lawrence at Gentilly, above La Chine, called the 

(1) The Montagnais, at the Bay of Chaleurs, were taught by the Jesuits to read and write near two centuries ago, 
and they have preserved the Icnowledge thus acquired to the present day by teaching their children the contents of the 
boolcs that were printed in their language. 

(2) Letter of Bishop of Quebec to Bishop Timon. 


Isles of Courcelles; and these were given by the Governor to the Abbe Fenelon in January, 1673, for 
the purpose of establishing a seminary for Indian boys. 

Schools were started at the different Indian Catholic settlements, in which the Indians were 
taught to read and write, and other branches were added when they could be induced to remain ; and 
these schools have continued without interruption to the present day. 

There are now four excellent schools for the Catholic Iroquois at St. Regis, two at Caughnawaga, 
and one at Two Mountains (1), in which the pupils learn all that is generally taught in our grammar 
or common schools. It is a general complaint, however, that parents do not realize that much benefit 
is conferred by such an education, and they still prefer to see their boys learn to hunt or fish, or lazily 
till the soil ; whilst some few serve as pilots to guide steamers through the dangerous rapids of the St. 
Lawrence, whose every rock has been known to their race for many ages. 

(1) Canadian report of Indian affairs, 1893. 



ITHER Reverend Fathers visited the homes of the Iroquois during the period of the 
missions; and, although they did not directly labor to propagate the Gospel among the 
Indians, yet they performed religious services in this region, and their deeds form a part 
of the early Church history of this part of the country. 

De La Salle had learned from some Iroquois at. Montreal that there were 
vast forests and prairies to the westward, teeming with game ; that there were vast lakes, on the 
borders of which w^ere inexhaustible mines; and that there was a river to the west of their country 
which flowed into a great sea. The discovery of a northwest passage to the East Indies was the highest 
ambition of the early explorers, and La Salle thought this might be the route that would solve the 
problem, and bring him wealth and fame. In the summer, therefore, of 1669, with two Sulpitans, 
Revs. Francois Dollier de Casson, and Rene de Brehart de Galinee, he organized a joint expedition, — 
La Salle to make discoveries, and the missionaries to preach the Gospel and bring the light of 
faith to the unknown nations and tribes beyond the lakes and along the extensive valley of the Missis- 
sippi (1). The party was composed of about twenty-five men, and started from La Chine (2), July 6, 
1669, ascended the St. Lawrence to Lake Ontario, and skirted along its southern shore to Irondequoit 
Bay. Thence they proceeded to the Seneca village of Gannagaro, or St. James, in order to obtain a 
guide to conduct them through the wilderness to the Ohio River. They were received with great 
pomp by the Seneca chiefs and ancients; and a banquet was prepared for them, at which the principal 
dish was roast dog. 

They were detained here for three weeks, expecting to obtain a captive, or slave, as a guide; but 
they were obliged to depart without one. They returned to Irondequoit Bay, where Father Dollier 
and some companions had remained, and where mass was celebrated on the shore, in a little chapel 
made of the oars and the sails of their canoes. They proceeded along the southern shore of the lake 
towards Niagara River, where they landed, and very probably said mass. Here they learned from 
the Indians about the great falls, which they did not visit but accurately described from the account 
given them. They went to Burlington Bay, and thence overland to an Indian village, situated between 
the head of the bay and Grand River, where Father Dollier said mass and all the company received 
Holy Communion. Here La Salle left the party, and the Sulpitans proceeded down the Grand River 
to Lake Erie. As the season was far advanced (3), the missionaries decided to remain in this beautiful 
region until spring; so they built a chapel (4) a short distance from the lake; gathered nuts and killed 
game for food; gathered the wild grapes which were here in great abundance, and pressed them to 
serve as wine for the altar; and thus this little congregation of French Christians spent the winter of 
1669-70, worshiping on Sundays in the first chapel erected on the borders of Lake Erie. They made 
preparations to continue their westward journey on the lake, March 26, 1670, but during the night a 
violent storm arose which submerged one of their canoes, and their ammunition was destroyed; but 
the greatest loss was the chalice, without which they could not celebrate mass or administer the sacra- 
ment of the Holy Eucharist; and their grand missionary enterprise came to a sudden end, and they 
reluctantly made their way to the nearest settlement of French. 

They (5) said mass in their travels in more than 200 places where mass had never been celebrated 
before, Father Dollier celebrating at least three times every week. 

(1) The Relations of 1670 give this name to the river. 

(2) So called, perhaps, from its being the supposed starting point to China. Marshall. 

(3) It was then October 15. 

(4) Margry, Decouverts. On M. Galinee's map there was a Presque Isle on the Canadian shore above the Grand 
River, which was very large. This is now Long Point, and the chapel was a little inward of this, probably on big Creek, 
at or near Spring Arbor. General Clark, however, holds that they wintered at Dover, thirty-five miles west of the 
mouth of Grand River. 

(5) Journal of Galinee in Margry. 


La Salle was not discouraged by the failure of his first attempt to explore the vast region of the 
West, but made preparations for another expedition over the lakes and waterways to discover new 
lands, and to buy peltry from the Indians. For this purpose he sent a party of carpenters and artisans 
to build a fort at Niagara and a vessel above the Falls (1). He had received a grant of land near the 
present site of Kingston, Ont., where he built a fort which he named Frontenac, and here he also built 
a brigantine of ten tons, which he loaded with materials for the new vessels and with supplies and pro- 
visions for his explorations on the upper lakes. 

The companions of La Salle in this enterprise were Father Louis Hennepin, a Flemish Franciscan, 
the Chevelier Henry de Tonty, the Sieur la Motte de Lussiere, and sixteen men (2). Father Hennepin 
possessed something of the venturesome spirit of La Salle, and he accompanied the party not only to 
attend to their spiritual wants but also to take part in the exploration of the vast region of the West. 
This exploring party embarked in their little brigantine at Fort Frontenac, November 18, 1678, and 
on the sixth of December, the feast of St. Nicholas, they entered the beautiful river Niagara, "Into 
which no bark similar to ours had ever sailed (3)." The grand strains of that noble hymn of the 
Church, the Te Deum, arose from the deck of the vessel, and resounded along either shore of this 
romantic region, so interesting and pregnant with events of importance to Church and State. The 
next day a party with Father Hennepin ascended the river in a canoe and landed on the Canadian 
shore, near the old suspension bridge, ascended Queenstown Heights, and followed the river as far as 
Chippewa Creek, where they encamped for the night. The next day they returned to the mouth of 
the river, and on the eleventh of December Father Hennepin said mass on the American shore, pre- 
sumably the first ever said in this vicinity (4). 

La Salle had not arrived from Fort Frontenac, and, as the Indians objected to the building of a 
fort, La Motte invited Father Hennepin to accompany him to the Seneca villages near the Genesee 
River, to obtain from the chiefs a sanction for their work. They started from the Niagara River on 
Christmas day, 1678, and journeyed five days along the ridge road trail to the Genesee, through the 
snow in the wilderness, with parched corn, or some wild game killed by their Indian companions, for 
food, and some large oak or lofty pine for a shelter at night, until they reached the large village of 
Tagarondies (5). On the first day of the year Father Hennepin said mass (6) in this village and 
preached to the Iroquois, in the presence of Fathers Gamier and Raffeix, S. J. They were kindly 
received and generously treated by the Senecas; but their mission was fruitless, and they returned to 
their companions on January 14th. 

In the meantime the brigantine had been towed up the river to the present site of Lewiston, at 
the bottom of the footpath near the old bridge (7), and the men awaited the coming of La Salle to 
begin work. La Salle selected a site for his shipyard about five miles above the Falls, on Cayuga 
Creek (8), where two bark cabins were built, one for a work shop, and the other for a chapel where 
mass was said every day, and where Father Hennepin preached on Sundays whilst the devout French- 
men made the forests resound with the strains of the Gregorian chant for high mass. La Salle was 
obliged to return to Fort Frontenac for supplies for his expedition, and Father Hennepin accompanied 
him as far as Niagara (Youngstown), where a site was selected for a fort; but to avoid giving offence to 
the Senecas the French pretended it was to be a blacksmith shop which La Salle had promised them. 

The vessel, which was completed in May, 1679, was calkd the Griffon, in compliment to Count 
Frontenac, and was blessed by Father Hennepin; and the first vessel of the upper lakes floated out 
with the Te Deum over the waters of the Cayuga Creek to the Niagara River. The Griffon soon after 
sailed up the river to the foot of Squaw Island, about two and one-half miles from the lake (9), where 
she was anchored and remained nearly three months awaiting the return of Father Hennepin and 
La Salle, who went to Fort Frontenac for supplies and for other priests to assist them in the work. 

After the return of Father Hennepin mass was daily celebrated on the vessel, and the word of God 
was preached on Sundays from the deck of the Griffon to the men ranged along the shore. 

(1) Margry " Decouvertes. " Vol. I. 

(2) Marshall. 

(3) Hennepin N. D., p. 74. 

(4) Marshall. 

(5) Gandachioragou. ,.,,,- xi ■ j n -j 

(6) Father Hennepin always carried his portable altar on his back during these journeys, and, consequently, said 

mass in many places not recorded. 

(7) Roseel. 

(8) Locality in doubt, Remington. 

(9) At the foot of Austin street, Buffalo. 


This was the first religious service that was held in the present city of Buffalo, and the first time 
the Gospel was announced in a place which is now adorned with many beautiful temples dedicated 
to the worship of God. 

The Griffon sailed up the lakes on August 7, 1679, and Father Melithon remained as chaplain to 
the little band which La Salle left at the stocks (1) where the vessel was built, to carry the furs he 
expected to bring on his return from this place to the lower lake. The Griffon was lost in a storm; 
the Senecas burned the storehouse at Lewiston; the French with Father Melithon soon after returned 
to Fort Frontenac, and thus disappeared the first Catholic house of worship along the banks of the 
Niagara River. 


The Chevalier De Treguai, an officer of the French army, stationed at Fort Niagara, gives 
the following account of occurrences at the Fort during the winter of 1687 and 1688. 

"After Denonville defeated the Senecas and destroyed their towns, he sent a detachment of his 
army to establish a fort at the mouth of the Niagara River. The fortification was erected 
in three or four days, and then all but one hundred officers and men returned to Montreal and 
Quebec. The Rev. John De Lamberville remained with this detachment at Fort Niagara as their 
chaplain. A little chapel had been erected in the interior of the Fort near the officers' quarters, 
and here mass was said every day. Scurvy broke out amidst the soldiers at the Fort during 
the winter season, on account of the poor quality of provisions, and a fearful scourge of disease 
devastated nearly the entire garrison. At the close of winter there were only twelve persons left 
at the fort. Death had carried off all the others. Lieutenant De Treguai was at the point of death 
early in March and was only partially conscious when he felt a strong hand grasping his own, and, in a 
semi-delirious state, he imagined that the Iroquois warriers had come to complete the destruction of 
the little garrison. Instead, however, of the tomahawk which he expected, the dark visaged indi- 
vidual proffered food ,and he realized that it was a friendly face that smiled on him and that relief was 
at hand. The dark visaged person was a Miami Chief who had come with some of his warriors from 
the west to visit the French at Fort Niagara, and, possibly, to take the scalps of some of their old 
enemies, the Iroquois. 

Father De Lamberville was one of those fortunate enough to escape the ravages of the disease. 
He had been near death during the winter, but towards spring he recovered sufficiently to care for the 
few remaining sick in the fort. Shortly after the arrival of the Miamis, the invahds at the fort were 
delighted at the sight of a sail on Ontario Lake, and their hearts were filled with joy at the prospect of 
relief from their friends at Montreal. Father Millet came with this relief expedition and said mass 
the next morning in the little chapel of the fort. He had the soldiers prepare a great cross of wood 
which was erected in a little burial ground of the fort, and was blessed by him with imposing ceremony. 
This scene has been transcribed to canvas by Mrs. John Clark Glenny, of Buffalo, and now adorns 
the corridor of the Buffalo Historical Rooms, at the head of the grand stairway. 

Some officers and men remained at the fort until September 15th, 1688, when they all retired to 
Montreal or Quebec, and the last mass was said in the chapel for nearly fifty years. The garrison 
was revived again in 1726, and from that date until the destruction of the fort by the English in 1759, 
there was a chapel there and Catholic services were held there until the French finally retired and the 
chaplain, women and children of the fort, the wives and children of the officers were allowed in the 
Articles of Capitulation to retire unmolested to Montreal. All during this period there was a regular 
chaplain stationed at the fort, but when the place was taken by the English the register was lost and 

(1) There is some difference of opinion amonft authorities in regard to the location of the chapel and tlie cabins of 
Father Melithon and his companions, after the sailing of the Griffon. The cabin above the Falls seems to have been a 
mere temporary structure, but the one at the mouth of the river was intended for a permanent storehouse and fort. 
DenonviUe, in his act of possession, in 16S8, says the stocks above the Falls still exist, but the qvarters which LaSalle 
had built at the mouth of the river had been burned by the Senecas. 

The quarters, or fort, at the mouth of the river, were large and commodious, and it was here, most probably, that 
Father Melithon and his companions dwelt. 


no record was preserved of the names of the chaplains or of the events occurring during that period. 
It is known, however, that Father Crespel was stationed at the fort for three years from 1729; then 
Father Bonnecamps, S. J., who accompanied the expedition of De Celeron, also visited the fort in 
July, 1749. The Rev. Claude Pieot was supposed to have been killed in an assault on the fort in 1759. 

There was no Catholic chaplain stationed at the fort during the period of English possession, 
but there was a large garrison of soldiers there and many of them were undoubtedly Catholics, and 
Jesuits visited the fort a few times during this period and held services in the chapel, which still existed, 
for the Catholics of the garrison. The Rev. Edmund Burke visited the fort in 1796 and said mass in 
the little chapel. 

All the priests who were stationed at Fort Niagara during the period of French possession were 
Franciscans. The Franciscans were stationed at the fort at Ogdensburg and at Fort Duquesne, and 
evidently priests of the same order were stationed at Niagara until it fell into the hands of the English. 
After the British retired from the fort, the chapel was abandoned forever; and nothing now remains 
except some walls in the interior of the fort which formed part of the mess house in the chapel during 
the period of French possession. 

ST. VINCENT'S FEMALE ORPHAN ASYLUM, Buffalo, Sisters of Charity. 

President St. Joseph's College, Buffalo. 

ST. VINCENT'S TECHNICAL SCHOOL, Buffalo, Sisters of Charity. 


ST. JOSEPH'S COLLEGE, Buffalo, Brothers of the Christian Schools. 

Sisters of Charity, Buffalo. 

Sisters of Charity, Buflfalo. 

Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis, Buffalo. 

'^ . 


THIRD ORDER OF ST. FRANCIS, and Asylum for the care of Old and Infirm Persons, Buffalo. 

Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis. 

Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis. 

Rector Church of St. fohn Maron, Buffalo. 

Church of St. John Maron, Buffalo. 

Sisters of Charity. 


Rev. henry FUCHS. 

(The late) Very Rev. THOS. BROUGHAM, V. F., Dean, 



Rev. JOHN F. McGlNN, 
Rector St. Bridget's Church, Newfane. 


School and Rectory, Lockport. 

Rev. J.J. LEDDY, Lockport. 

Rev. H. J. KINGSTON, Akron. 

Erected during the pastorate of Rev. J.J Leddy. 



History of Catholicity 
Among the Early Settlers. 



I ARLY white society of the New World did not offer a very j;ongeniaI field for the growth 
of the Church. 

The earliest white settlers came from countries in which the Church was persecuted 
and her offices proscribed ; or they came from lands that had been drenched with blood 
that had been shed in religious wars and religious feuds, and rancor filled their hearts 
towards the professors of Catholicity. The penal laws of England were re-enacted in the provinces 
of America; and if the Church had any history amongst the earliest settlers it was written in hierogly- 
phics, invisible to the eyes of men; it was engraven in the hearts of her children, and was formed by 
their private acts of devotion or their secret reception of the sacraments. Mass might have been 
celebrated at different times in the homes of faithful families, but there was no organized congre- 
gation in the State of New York till freedom came with the formation of the United States. 

When Father Jogues escaped from the Mohawks and reached New Amsterdam(l) in 1643, he found 
only two Catholics in the settlement; and but few more came until the arrival of Governor Dongan. 
Thomas Dongan, (2) the first Catholic governor of Manhattan, succeeded Sir Edmund Andros in 
1683, and he was disposed to promote the utmost freedom of religion, in order to secure the rights of 
his co-religionists to publicly proclaim the principles of their faith and to enjoy with impunity the 
solemn services of the Church. 

Jesuit missionaries had labored for nearly a half century among the scattered hamlets of Catholic 
colonists in Maryland and adjoining provinces before the advent of Governor Dongan. The great 
religious order of the Society of Jesus, known as the Jesuits, filled the seats of learning in many of the 
colleges and universities of Europe, and this was also one of the missionary orders of the New World. 
Members of the order were very willing to go out to the mission fields wherever their presence was 
needed and especially to the lands where the civil rulers would sanction their labors. New York 
offered a very promising field with a Catholic Governor at the head of the province. Two English 
priests, the Rev. Thomas Harvey and the Rev. Henry Harrison, prepared for this mission. Father 
Harvey sailed with the new governor of New York in an old frigate. The Nantasket, in August, 1683, 
whence they proceeded overland to their new fields of labor. 

This new field gave promise of abundant harvests. With a Catholic governor to protect them 
they could make New York the centre of their labors. Here they could build their college and establish 
their headquarters. From New York they could attend frequently the few scattered Catholics dwelling 
outside the island, in the present State of New Jersey, or on the islands down the bay. They might 
also establish a Catholic settlement for the Iroquois near Manhattan, so that they would be weaned 
from the influence of the French. Governor Dongan was in sympathy with all these projects, and 
he was especially anxious to secure the friendship of the Iroquois. 

Both England and France were reaching out for territory and trade in the New World. The 
French sailed into the Gulf of St. Lawerence, ascended the river also named after the Saint established 
important posts at Quebec, Montreal and Three Rivers, and had already an extensive fur trade with 
the Indian nations of the far North and West. The English landed at Manhattan, and establishing 
here their base of supplies, prepared to reach out to the West for furs and land. The great war-like 
nation of the Iroquois cut off the westward progress of both the English and the French, and to gain 
the friendship of these Indian nations became the great aim of the rival governor's diplomacy. The 

(1) Hudson discovered New York in 1609, and sailed up the river which bears his name. Tlie territory was claimed 
by Holland, and the Dutch began to settle on Manhattan Island in 1621. The region between Canada and Virginia 
was named "New Netherlands." Manhattan Island was purchased from the Indians in 1626 for twenty-four dollars. 
The English claimed the territory as part of Virginia and in August, 1664, captured Manhattan (New Amsterdam) and 
named it New York. The Dutch regained possession shortly after, but it reverted to the English next year, and it 
remained under English control until the revolution. 

(2) Dongan was a descendant of an Irish-Catholic family, and a distant relation of the Earl of Tyreconnell. 


French had the advantage of many years of friendly contact through the presence of the missioners 
in the different nations and through years of established trade; but the English would also send them 
missioners, and would sell them goods cheaper than they could buy from the French. 

Bright hopes of abundant harvests led the English priests to labor early in this new field. The 
English provincial, Father Marner, wrote to the superior general of the order in 1683 : "Father Thomas 
Harvey, the missioner passes to New York by consent of the governor of the colony. In that colony is 
a respectable city, fit for the foundation of a college, if faculties are given to which college those who 
are now scattered throughout Maryland may betake themselves and make excursions from thence 
into Maryland. The Duke of York, the lord of that colony, greatly encourages the undertaking of a 
new mission." (l). 

The college was started with a small number of students, mostly rich men's sons who were looking 
for a classical polish to ornament a professional career. The classics would not appeal to a very large 
number in a commercial community, and the college did not long flourish. Leisler wrote to the gover- 
nor at Boston in 1869: "I have formerly urged to inform your Hon. that Coll. Dongan, in his time 
did erect a Jesuite college upon cullour to learn Latin, to the judges West. Mr. Graham, Judge Palmer 
and John Tudor did contribute their sons for some time, but no body imitating them, the college van- 
ished." (2). 

The Jesuits also organized the few Catholic families then in New York into a congregation, and 
these assembled on Sunday in the little chapel in Fort James, which was south of Bowling Green. 
Many persons who were not formerly known as Catholics were to be seen here every Sunday, following 
faithfully the services of the Church. 

Father Le Moyne visited New Amsterdam (New York) (3) in 1658, and he came, says Dominic 
Megapolensis, "On account of the Papists residing here, and especially for the accommodation of the 
French sailers." Smith (4) says: "Papists began to settle in the colony under the smiles of the 
governor; the collector of the revenues and several principal oflicers threw off the mask and openly 
avowed their attachment to the doctrines of Rome. In a word, the whole body of the people trembled 
for the Protestant cause." 

The scattered families of Catholics throughout the colonies like those at New York, were not 
known as such because in many places they were publicly proscribed by the law, and in other places 
they were privately ostracised by society. It was only when they became strong enough to proclaim 
their faith openly that they were recognized as children of the Church. Governor Dongan convened 
the first legislative assembly ever held in New York in October, 1683; and one of the first acts of that 
body was to pass what was called the "Bill of Rights," which proclaimed the principles of religious 
freedom. The principle of religious liberty thus publicly proclaimed in New York was a determin- 
ing factor in the coming of the Jesuits to the province. They needed only freedom from restraint 
to find ample scope for their zeal. 

They were, however, doomed to dissappointment; and their bright flower of promise was nipped 
in the bud. James the Second, the Catholic king of England, was hurled from the throne; a conspiracy 
against king and Church deposed Dongan in New York; and black bigotry banished from the province 
the spirit of religious liberty which an enlightened governor had fostered. Catholics were discrimi- 
nated against by law, and priests were proscribed under severe penalties (5). For nearly a century 
after Dongan's rule Catholics were very few in the present State of New York, and even these few 
practiced their faith in the privacy of their homes or were separated entirely from communion with 
their co-religionists. Without priests to supply spiritual nourishment for their souls in life, their faith 
languished and became but a feeble reflection of the fervor of their earlier years, and was often extinct 
when death came without the consolation of the sacraments. 

Few faithful Catholics would desire to settle in a land in which their religion was proscribed, and 
only those colonies that were comparatively liberal in their laws were selected for future homes 
by Catholic emigrants. Some went to Virginia where their religion and characteristic race features 
were eliminated by their environments. Some settled in Philadelphia, whither the liberal policy of 
Penn attracted them by allurements of freedom of religion and hopes of peace. 

(1) Foley, "Records of the English Province," Chap. 7, page 343, in Shea. 

(2) Doc. History, Vol. 2, page 23. 

(3) Then under the government of Holland. 

(4) History of New York, Vol. 1, page 90. - 

(5) Laws of July, 1700, prohibited priests from entering a dwelling in the province under penalty of imprison- 
ment; a second offense was punishable by death. 


Penn's policy was too liberal for some, and complaints were made which induced Penn to write 
to Governor Logan : "There is a complaint against your government that you suffer publick mass in 
a scandalous manner." A more tolerant spirit prevailed in Pennsylvania than in New York, and 
many Catholics made their homes in Philadelphia, (1) and many others came there to have their 
children baptized or to receive the sacraments. 

The spirit of intolerance which dominated New York excluded Catholics from the colony, and 
seven years after the deposition of Dongan only seven Catholic families were returned from New York, 
Upon order of Governor Fletcher, William Merritt, mayor of New York, gave the following list of 
Catholics in the city: "Maj. Anthony Brockholes, Mr. William Douglass, Mr. John Cooly, Mr. 
Christian Lawrence, Mr. Thomas Howarding, Mr. John Cavalier, Mr. John Patte, Mr. John Fenny 
and Mr. Philip Cunningham." (2). 

The Church could not thrive under the restrictions put upon her development by intolerant laws, 
nor could her children practice the principles of their faith under the bane of religious bigotry rampant 
in the society of colonial New York. Many Catholic individuals and families undoubtedly dwelt in 
New York during the century of English rule, but the church enjoyed no public life or concomitant 
history and existed only as she did in the first centuries, in the catacombs, — held her services in some 
private dwelling behind closed shutters to exclude the gaze of unfriendly eyes. 

About 1655 there were many Acadian (3) Catholics in the colony, but they were more like slaves 
than free white men and were mostly children separated from their parents, whose existence was toler- 
ated on the prospect of useful citizenship. These had no priest; it was the policy of the rulers to 
eradicate their religion as well as their nationality. The presence of so many prominent Polish and 
French Catholic officials during the revolution, training and leading our troops, dispelled much of the 
prejudice against their religion. The spirit of freedom, proclaimed in the Constitution of the new 
republic, was incompatible with religious persecution, and as soon as the British evacuated New York 
the Catholics scattered through the town began to assemble for services. Father Farmer came from 
Philadelphia to celebrate mass for them in the house of the Spanish minister (4) or Spanish consul. 
Mass was also said in a carpenter shop on Barclay Street, which was then in the suburbs of the city; 
and mass was also said in a public building in Vauxhall Garden, on North River, near Warren or 
Chambers Street. 

The law of 1700 against priests and Jesuits was repealed by the Legislature of the State of New 
York in 1754, and immediately after the Catholics of the city began to form a congregation. 

The Rev. Charles Whelan, an Irish Franciscan, who had been a chaplain on one of the French 
warships, became their first resident pastor. Trustees were selected and shortly after St. Peters, in 
Barclay Street, was started, the first Catholic church in the City of New York. 

(1) 5,655 Irish emigrants landed at Philadelphia in 1729, and the great majority of them must have been Catholics. 

(2) Bishop Bayley's History of the Churcli in New York. 

(3) Tlie expulsion of the Aoadians from their homes was one of the most inhuman acts that ever blotted the pages 
of history of any civilized country. Children were separated from their parents, wives from their husbands, and they 
were scattered among the different colonies where it was hoped they would be absorbed by the English communities 
and become faithful subjects of the king. They were French Catholics. 

(4) First Mass (Bailey). 




} ESTERN New York was still a wilderness when peace settled over the land after the long 
struggle of the colonies for freedom from British oppression. There were not many set- 
tlers in Western New York until some years after the revolution; and the country was an un- 
broken stretch of forest from the Hudson River to Fort Niagara, except the few clearings 
occupied by the cabins of Indians who had not been driven from their homes by General 
Sullivan, on account of the Wyoming massacre and the assistance they rendered the British in the war. 
The Senecas settled on Buffalo Creek, about five miles south of Buffalo, where they dwelt for 
many years until the advancing tide of the white race swept them from the last refuge of safety and 
from the land where they roamed the forest, being children of nature like the deer of the forest and 
the beaver of the brook; masters of all except the Genii, who were the invisible inhabitants of the 
region, and who dwelt in every mysterious place, whether woodland or water, and presided over the 
destiny of the Indian race. 

Even before the revolution a considerable colony of the Scotch (1) Catholics, from Glengary 
Scotland, at the invitation of Sir Wm. Johnson, settled in 1773, along the Mohawk Valley and near 
Rome, with an Irish priest. Father John McKenna as pastor; but when war came these sturdy Scotch- 
men were suspected of sympathizing with England, and they were forced to leave their homes in 1776 
and immigrate to British soil in Canada. This was the first priest to administer the sacraments in 
the State of New York since the Jesuits dwelt among the Iroquois Indians. The first settlements in 
Western New York were made on the shores of the, lakes or the banks of the rivers, as the water was 
the first means of transit to the interior from the seaports where the European immigrants landed, 
and it furnished the most convenient method of transportation to the early settlers. There were very 
few Catholics among those early settlers, or if they were Catholics they did not openly profess their 
faith on account of the prejudice they might excite, and also because the laws of the State of New York, 
punishing those who harbored priests, were not revealed until 1784 (2), and the penal laws of the New 
England States, whence some of the Catholic emigrants came, were still in force. In 1785 Rev. John 
Carroll wrote to Rome that there were about 1500 Catholics in the State of New York; but most of 
these lived in the City of New York, with perhaps a few at Albany. 

Soon after the close of the war the Genesee country attracted the attention of intending emigrants 
in the Eastern States on account of its fertility of soil, because it was extensively advertised, and because 
a large tract adjoining it was given by the government to officers and soldiers of the late war. Settlers 
came from New York up the Hudson River to the Mohawk, and through Mud Creek to Oneida Lake, 
then through the Oswego River to Lake Ontario, whence they landed at some convenient place along 
its southern shore; or they came from Philadelphia through the Schuylkill River to the Susquehanna, 
and through the Chemung River to Crooked Lake. These hardy pioneers traveled in shallow flat bot- 
tomed boats, carrying all their earthly possessions, with perhaps a yoke of oxen to draw the boat through 
the water, or haul it over the rough ground of the portage between river and lake (3). Some of these 
emigrants settled at favorable locations along the route; and Elmira, Owego, Bath, Watkins (Cathrines) 
Geneva and Canandaigua, soon contained clusters of log houses and cabins, the advance guard of 
European civilization ; but tlie first settlement of importance was that of eighty families of the Quakers 
or Friends, who came about 1790 and dwelt along the western shores of Lake Seneca about twenty 
miles south of Geneva. 

There was a settlement of Catholics near Fort Stanwix (Rome) in 1795, comprising about seventy 
families with Father Flynn as pastor (4), and there were said to be four hundred Catholic (5) families 
between that place and Albany. 

(1) Shea. "Life of Archbishop Carroll." 

(2) Bishop Timou's History. 

(3) Buffalo Historical Society Publication. 

(4) This was probably at Carthage on the Black River. 

(5) These were probably the Scotch, who formerly dwelt on the Mohawk on the Johnson establishment. 


The first paper issued in Western New York was published at Bath, in 1796, and was called the 
"Bath Gazette" and "Genesee Advertiser" (1), but the only places of note even after a decade of the 
I9th century's years had passed were Batavia and Canandaigua, because here the land companies 
established their headquarters and located their offices (2). 

The first settlers came from New England states, and established their dwellings on the Genesee 
tract, in the valley of the Chemung or along the highway which led from the East. They passed 
through Fort Stanwix, Oneida, Onondaga, to Cayuga Lake, where there was a ferry; thence to Seneca 
Lake and Geneva; thence to Canandaigua, and to the Genesee River near Avon (3). From the 
Genesee River to the Niagara the road passed through swampy land in this ninety miles of forest, 
where in 1792 there was no white man, or the house of any white man to be found. The Genesee 
tract, which comprised about 2,000,000 acres, and extended across the State north and south, and 
forty-two miles east and west, soon began to be dotted with the cabins of emigrants who were attracted 
to this section by the fertility of the soil, and the report that was seduously spread abroad that this was 
the great grain growing region of the West (4). The necessity of having mills to grind their grain was 
early recognized by the settlers, and one was started at Newtown (Elmira); and in 1789, Ebenezer 
Allen, a dissolute character who lived among the Indians, bought one hundred acres of land near the 
Falls of the Genesee, in the present City of Rochester, for the purpose of establishing a mill for the- 
convenience and accommodation of the inhabitants of the surrounding country (5). No town, how- 
ever, opened up around Allen's mill for many years, and the mill itself did not thrive, partly through 
the carelessness of the owner and partly because it was too distant from the important settlements 
and the public highways ; but some years after the place became known for its large milling interests, 
and received the name of the Flour City. In 1802 three gentlemen from Maryland, Colonel Rochester, 
Colonel Fitzhugh and Major Carroll, believing that the Allen mill site was favorably located for a 
future town or city, bought the one hundred acres at seventeen and one-half dollars an acre, and laid 
it out in village lots (6) . Others thought the unborn city would arise on the shores of the lake, or at Iron- 
dequoit Bay, as this was the old Indian landing place (7), and many of the early settlers still followed 
this route to the Genesee country, and the city of Tryon was laid out on the picturesque bluffs of the 
bay; but as soon as the water power at the falls was developed, this prospective city vanished, and 
practical persons could see in present profits of the flour mills at the falls the future favorable location 
of a great industrial town. Soon after the revolutionary war the United States government began the 
construction of military roads, and the state legislature appropriated sums for the building of highways 
through the unsettled portion of the state; and tliis gave immigrants an opportunity to locate more 
inland and even in places where transportation by water was not within easy reach. The early trav- 
elers overland followed the Indian trails, which were the only roadways then existing, and these were 
improved and adapted to the modern method of transportation and became the public highways; thus 
the old trail through the open forests of oak, which furnished the portage between the upper and lower 
Niagara, gradually widened as the bulk of freight increased until it became a modern highway. In 
1802 the government commissioned General Wilkinson to build a military road from Lewiston to 
Black Rock ; but the road was finished only from Lewiston to the top of the hill, although the trees 
were cut and the brush was cleared away the entire distance. 

The Ridge Road, which was an old Indian trial from the Genesee to the Niagara, a short distance 
from the south shore of Lake Ontario, was opened about 1815 and offered an excellent means of transit 
to the early immigrants. The other road from the east through Avon, Leroy and Batavia, branched 
off a short distance west of the last place, one road leading towards Buffalo, the other towards Lewiston. 
The Buffalo branch led to the ferry over the Niagara River, which was in operation before the revolu- 
tion, but dividing into two branches on its entrance into the present limits of the city, one branch coming 
along Bouck Street (Lafayette Avenue), the other along North Street to the road which ran along the 
beach from Buffalo Creek to the ferry. State Street and Lake View Avenue in Rochester were Indian 
trails (8) that were gradually transformed into the highways of the white man, and finally into the 

(1) Doc. History of New York. 

(2) The agents at Batavia and Bath were Catliolics; 

(3) Parker, "Rochester." 

(4) It was bouglit from Massachusetts. 

(5) Parker, "Rochester." 

(6) Ibid. 

(7) Denonville's army landed here. 

(8) See map of Rochester in Reilly (Grosveuor Library). 


avenues of a modern city. The earliest settlers in the western part of the state, outside of the little 
hamlets at the principal points of navigation, took up their abode along these highways and began the 
work of clearing the forests and establishing their homes. There were very few Catholics among 
these early settlers, as they came principally from New England, and the tide of European emigration 
did not begin to flow to these shores until public improvements offered a good market for the laborers 
from other lands. 

The French province of Canada included Northern Ohio, Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin; 
and there were settlements made in these remote sections of the country, and Catholic congregations 
were established in these states, under the spiritual guidance of the French Bishop of Quebec. There 
was also a congregation of French and Canadians at Split Rock, Lake Champlain, New York, in 
1790, in charge of the Rev. Peter La Valiniere; and even after Archbishop Carroll was appointed 
Vicar Apostolic, the bishop of Quebec claimed jurisdiction over the Canadians in Northern New 
York (1). 

The diocese of Baltimore was divided in 1808; and New York (2), Philadelphia, Boston and Bards- 
town (3) were made new dioceses, and this put an end to the jurisdiction of the Bishop of Quebec in 
the State of New York, although the new bishops of Philadelphia and New York made the Bishop of 
Quebec their Vicar General, on account of the French residents in the northern parts of these respective 
states, and the Bishop of Quebec, through courtesy, appointed the new bishops of New York and Phila- 
delphia his vicars general for the French in their dioceses (4). 

The state laws, condemning Catholic priests to imprisonment and even death, were not repealed 
until 1784; and up to this time there did not exist a single Catholic congregation within the limits of 
the State of New York, although there was a large number of the faithful in different parts of the state. 
Archbishop Carroll wrote to Rome in 1785 that there were about 1500 Catholics in the State of New 
York, but there was undoubtedly a larger number, as they were scattered through the state, and many 
were afraid to profess openly their faith on account of the recent laws and the prejudice which existed 
against them. St. Peter's congregation in New York City was organized in 1786, and the church was 
dedicated on November 4th of the same year by Father Nugent; and this was the first Catholic parish 
established in the State of New York. Priests from Philadelphia visited New York in disguise for 
some years before the revolution, and the chaplain of the French fleet administered also a few times 
to the faithful in the city, but there was no church organized or visible congregation; and the Catholics 
assembled in some friendly home or large building when the priests came to receive the sacraments 
and hear mass, (5) although they had a little frame chapel which was burned during the revolution (6). 

Many Catholics had settled at Albany and westward as far as Fort Stanwix (Rome) before the 
close of the century. Sir Wm. Johnson obtained his title and 500 pounds sterling a year for the repulse 
of the French near Lake George (7). He obtained also a vast tract of land, about 100,000 acres, a 
few miles west of Schenectady. Here he erected a baronial manor-seat, and lived in barbaric splendor 
with Molly Brant, the sister of Joseph Brant, the great Mohawk chief. A large colony of hardy 
Scotch Catholics were induced to settle on his estate, and they came from their old homes with their 
priest. Father McKenna, to form a respectable settlement in the New World. 

When the colonies rebelled against England the sympathies of Johnson and his Scotch tenants 
were on the side of the British crown. Such a large community of Tories, so near New York, could 
not escape the vigilant American officers. Rumors came to Johnstown that General Schuyler was 
about to descend upon the colony to disarm or capture them, and they hastily gathered their belongings 
and fled through the forests of Northern New York with their priest, to the friendly fields of Canada. 

The Catholics of Albany started at an early date the erection of a church edifice of which Thomas 
Barry laid the corner stone on September 12, 1797, assisted by Louis Le Couteulx, who afterwards 
became prominent in church affairs at Buffalo; and it was to this church that for many years the 
Catholics of Western New York came to receive the sacraments at Easter, to be married, and to have 
their children baptized. 

(1) Shea, "Life of Carroll." 

(2) Rev. Luke Concomon was consecrated at Rome first bishop of New York, but he never came to this country 
and died at Naples soon after his consecration. 

(3) Maryland Catholics began to move to Kentucky in 1785. Shea. 

(4) Shea. 

(5) Bishop Bailey, "History of Catholic Church in New York." 

(6) Shea. 

(7) He changed the name from Lake St. Sacrament to Lake George in honor of the English king and to show 
tliat tlie territory belonged undoubtedly to England. 


When civil peace settled over the country with the advent of liberty and the Republic, it was then 
that the Church founded by the Prince of Peace, and herself the harbinger of "peace to men of good 
will" first began to manifest her existence in the land ; and she came forth as she did in the fourth 
century from the catacombs, from her hiding places in the humble homes of the faithful to the light 
of day, because she found a congenial atmosphere in the spirit of freedom and began to form her 
children into congregations, and to erect handsome buildings for the service and worship of God (1). 
After the suppression of the order of Jesuits (2) many of the members in England and Belgium came to 
America, and for many years they were the only missionaries in the country; and they went about on 
horseback visiting the faithful in the different towns and hamlets and supporting themselves, sometimes 
by teaching schools, by the slender contributions of the people, or by the rent and produce of farms 
which they held in their own name (3). Prominent among these Jesuits was the Rev. John Carroll, 
who was consecrated bishop of Baltimore and the first bishop of the United States, at Lulworth Castle, 
England, on August 15, 1790, with jurisdiction over all the territory east of the Mississippi River (4). 
Catholic laymen erected chapels in different parts of the country, but they had no priests and they 
could only hope that when some itinerant priest would come their way they would have a place to 
assemble and worship God. 

There was no seminary for priests in the country until the Sulpitians, fearing the ravages of the 
revolution in France, turned their eyes to this land as a place of safe retreat, where they could continue 
the work of educating young men for the ministry; and they started a little college at Baltimore in 
1791 ; but it was many years before they could furnish priests to the extensive and rapidly increasing 
missions in the United States. In the large towns and where there was a considerable settlement of 
Catholics the eyes of the faithful turned anxiously to their old homes across the water, to the church 
in which they were baptized, in which they made their first communion and were confirmed, and, 
perhaps, married; to the priests who instructed them in their catechism and their religious duties, and 
their only hope lay in the thought that some of these good priests would take pity on their condition, 
and would come to minister to their wants in the New World. Many priests did come on the invitation 
of laymen, but they did not remain long in any one place, for the number of Catholics was small in 
each locality, and they were unable to support a permanent pastor. Many Catholic families in the 
eighteenth century, and in the early years of the nineteenth century, were undoubtedly lost to the 
faith, because they had no priest, no Catholic society, nor the influence of Catholic surroundings, no 
means of keeping alive the principles of their faith; and although the old country people may have 
remained true to their church, yet they had no means to teach the faith to their children as the printing 
of Catholic books in England was a crime and the same spirit, if not the same laws, prevailed in the 
New World (5). It could not be expected that the Church, under the conditions that prevailed previous 
to the revolution, would make very rapid progress; it was, in fact, only the firm faith of her children 
that enabled them to remain faithful to her teachings, for many of them were forced to live without 
the grace and strength of her sacraments, and to die without the consolation of her priests. 

The increase in numbers of the faithful during those early years must necessarily come from 
immigration ; but it is very difficult to determine how many Catholics came to these shores before 1820, 
as there was no official record kept of the number of immigrants to this country before that date. 
From the close of the revolution to 1820 it is estimated that 225,000 Europeans came to the United 
States (6). When the great project of building the Erie canal, to connect Lake Erie with the Atlantic 
Ocean was begun it attracted thousands of the laboring class from Europe, but more especially from 
Ireland; and in three years, from 1816 to 1819, more than ten thousand Irish emigrants landed at the 
port of New York. The Erie canal was begun in October, 1817, at Rome, New York, and the greater 
number of these Irish emigrants were undoubtedly employed on this great work. Nearly all of these 
were Catholics, yet no priests came to attend them, and the only Catholic clergyman in the State 

(1) After peace in 1783 the capital of the country was New York; and here the Spanish and French legations, 
who were entirely Catholic, had Catholic services in their chapels, and their presence and example did much to destroy 
or at least to weaken the spirit of bigotry and hatred of the Catholic religion. 

(2) In 1783. 

(3) Shea, "Life of Carroll." 

(4) There was another diocese west of the Mississippi where bishops and priests were paid by the Spanish 

(5) The first Catholic book published in the United States was an edition of Reeve's History of the Bible, issued 
by Talbot in Philadelphia in 1584. Another Catholic book was printed in 1789, and a quarto Bible in 1790, and 
another in 1805. History of Church in New York. 

(6) Bureau of Statistics, Treasury Department, 1890. 


outside of New York and Albany, was the Rev. Arthur Langdill to whom Bishop Connolly, October 
22, 1817, gave faculties to perform all priestly duties throughout the diocese of New York, excepting 
in New York City and Albany, until further orders (1). This reverend gentleman probably visited 
the Catholic laborers along the canal and other places through the State; but he did not labor per- 
manently in the State, and nothing is recorded of his presence after his sojourn at New Burg in January, 
1818 (2). 

There was no priest to preach the word of God to the hundreds of Catholics laboring along the 
canal, or to light up the last hours of many faithful sons of the Church who contracted mortal maladies 
in the swamps and forests along the line of this great work (3). There were not priests enough to 
attend the established congregations, much less to travel through the State to administer the sacraments 
to the scattered Catholic population ; so when Bishop Connolly came to New York he found only four 
priests to attend the 1,300 Catholics in the city, and two of these, who were Jesuits, left soon after (4), 
Even as late as 1822, there were only eight priests in the entire diocese, and but one. Rev. Patrick Kelly, 
in all Western New York (5). There was no seminary except at Baltimore, and "The American 
youth have an almost invincible repugnance to the ecclesiastical state" (6). The Catholics of Auburn 
were the first to receive the ministration of a priest. There were several Catholics there, and they 
sent to NewYork for a priest to baptize their children. The Rev. Michael Gorman came in 1820, 
from the Cathedral at New York, and said mass in the court house for the five or six families, and 
administered the sacraments of the church. (7) 

At the beginninng of the present century there were only about fifty families west of the Genesee 
Falls, Hanfords Landing, at Leroy and Fort Schlosser (8). On account of its favorable location 
Buffalo was early looked upon as a possible site of a future city, and the advantages it offered soon 
attracted prospective settlers to locate within its domain, and its propinquity to the Seneca Reservation 
made it a desirable place for barter and trade with the Indians. Buffalo to the Indian was "Te-osah- 
way," the bass wood place; and the tableland or plateau of the site of the present city, beginning with 
the rise of ground at the Terrace and extending east and north, was covered with fine chestnut groves, 
and bass wood forests extended over the region to the south and along Buffalo Creek. From the 
Terrace cliffs to the lake was a marshy flat which covered all the southern part of the present city and 
extended nearly to Seneca Street (9) . In 1801 the Holland Company gave it the name of New Amsterdam, 
but the appellation did not seem congenial, and it mysteriously and gradually assumed the name of 
Buffalo. The first settlers located on Exchange, then called Crowe Street, on Main Street and on the 
Terrace. Mr. Le Couteulx, one of the most prominent of the early inhabitants and a generous and 
faithful Catholic, came in 1804 and located at the northeast corner of Main and Exchange streets, 
where he had a drug store which faced on Exchange Street, and a flower garden on the Main Street 
side of his lot. 

Mr. O'Rourke also came to Buffalo about the same time; and a Mr. O'Neill, a ferryman at Black 
Rock in 1800, was very probably an Irish Catholic, but a congregation was not formed for nearly a 
quarter of a century after the above dates. Catholics seemed to have congregated at Rochester earlier 
than at any other place in the western portion of the State; and although it was a mere hamlet until 
work on the Erie Canal was started, yet the prospect of convenient transportation to the east and to 
the sea for its extensive milling interests, and for the shipment of grain from the Genesee tract^brought 
many settlers to this favored locality. In 1818 Colonel Nathaniel Rochester, after whom the place 
was named, came from Maryland, and his entrance into the future city with ten slaves (10) created 
considerable excitement in this free community where slavery would not be tolerated. About this 
same year the first visit of a priest was made by Rev. Patrick McCormick (1 1) to the village of Rochester; 
but it could only have been a transient visit, as no such name is found in the almanac or early lists 

(1) Bailey, History of New York. 

(2) Bailey, History of Catholic Church in New York. 

(3) An epidemic had broken out among the men near Syracuse and about 1,200 were sick at one time. 

(4) Bailey. 

(5) Ahnanac 1822. 

(6) Bishop Connolly's Journal. 

(7) Bishop Timon's History. 

(8) Hotchkiss, "Western New York." 

(9) Welch, "Buffalo." 

(10) The legislature passed a bill in 1817 abolishing slavery in the State after 1827. 

(11) Bishop Timon. This was probably the Rev. M. Gorman, who came to Rochester'at the time of his visit to 



of priests in New York. The Rev. Patrick Kelly, who was educated in Ireland, was ordained by 
Bishop Connolly in 1821, and was soon after sent to administer to the spiritual wants of the Catholics 
scattered through the entire western part of the State. 

Catholic immigrants had already settled in considerable numbers at Auburn and at Rochester, 
and this zealous young priest labored earnestly to assemble these children of the Church into congrega- 
tions, and to build some humble chapel where they might receive the sacraments and worship God. 
His principal duties consisted in ministering to the spiritual wants of the hundreds of Catholics who 
were employed along the line of the Erie Canal ; yet these were not his only care, as many had already 
located at Auburn and Rochester, and he erected in 1821 (1) a little chapel at the former place for 
the accommodation of the eight or ten families who were located there as prominent residents. Father 
Kelly also visited Rochester (2), which then contained about 1700 inhabitants, and urged the Catholics 
to secure a lot and build a church. 

Many Irish Catholics were among the first settlers of Rochester, and their names are found among 
the first purchasers of lots on the one hundred tract, in the village directory, and in public offices ; and 
soon after the arrival of Father Kelly they began to collect funds for the purchase of a lot and the 
building of a little church where they might hear mass and receive the sacraments. A little frame 
building was put up on the site of the present Cathedral, and here they worshipped whenever a priest 
came, until the Rev. M. McNamara built the first stone church for them. 

Bishop Council, of Philadelphia, was the first Catholic clergyman to visit Buffalo, after the white 
man settled within its confines. He passed through the settlement in 1821, whilst on his journey to 
Quebec. He baptized a child for the O'Rourke family; but there is no record that he performed any 
other religious service. 

The Rev. P. Kelly also came to Buffalo the same year, and remained some days. He held one 
public service in St. Paul's Episcopal Church, which was a little frame building, not quite finished, 
and which was located on the Pearl Street side of the present property. This was the first public mass 
said in Buffalo since the time of Hennepin (3). There were only five Catholic families here then. 

(1) First Catholic Almanac printed 1822. 

(2) As some confusion might arise from the early name of counties we give here a short account of their forma- 
tion. Previous to 1789 Montgomery County extended over the western half of the State, but in this year Ontario 
County was formed embracing all Western New York; and Steuben County was formed from the latter in 1796 with 
nearly the same limits as at present. In 1802 Genesee County was formed embracing all the territory west of the Gen- 
esee River, and from Genesee and Steuben, Allegany County was formed in 1806. Monroe County was formed from On- 
tario and Genesee in 1821, and the same year, Erie County was fomied from Niagara. Chautauqua, Niagara and 
Cattaraugus counties were formed in 1808. In 1823 Livingstone was taken from Ontario and Genesee; Yates from 
Ontario and Steuben; and Wayne from Ontario and Seneca. Orleans was taken from Genesee in 1824, and Wyoming 
from Genesee in 1841. Seneca County was formed from Cayuga in 1804; and Chemung from Tioga in 1836. Hotch- 
kiss, "Western New York." 

(3) The Rev. Dr. Babcock was the rector at the time. See Iroquois and Jesuits, p. 212. 



SFTER Father Kelley's departure there was no resident priest in the diocese until the 
advent of the Rev. Michael McNamara. Father Mc54^amara was the first resident 
priest of Rochester and of the original diocese of Buffalo. He had collected money in 
New York, Philadelphia and some of the other large towns for the purpose of building 
a church. When he was sent by the bishop of the New York diocese to look after the 
spiritual interests of the western part of the State he established his home near Rochester, because here 
there was already a church building and a respectable congregation. He lived on a farm up the 
Genesee some miles from Rochester, and he came to town every Saturday to perform his duties as 
pastor of the congregation. His mission embraced all the settlements in the western part of the State. 
Auburn, Owego, Canandaigua, Geneva, Palmyra and several little settlements in Monroe, Ontario, 
Wayne, Tompkins and Steuben counties were then formed into communities with prospects of future 
incorporation as villages or towns. Father McNamara visited all these little places whenever occasion 
offered, and he said mass in many of them or administered other sacraments as occasion demanded. 
He came to Rochester in 1825, and he built a second church of stone on the site of St. Patrick's Cathedral, 
and he remained here as pastor of this congregation until he died of cholera in 1832. 

The Rev. Stephen Badin was the first priest who remained any length of time in Buffalo. He had 
been on the mission in Kentucky when his health gave way, and he returned to Europe where he remained 
five years until he was completely restored. On his way back to his mission in Kentucky he tarried 
in Buffalo for six weeks as the guest of Mr. Le Couteulx, and during this period he assembled the 
Catholics and said mass for them either in the court house or in the house of Mr. Le Couteulx, and he 
urged them to secure a church building where they might have services when a priest could come to 
minister to them. Father Badin's presence and zeal inspired the Catholics with a desire of having a 
church of their own and a priest who could say mass for them and administer the sacraments, and he 
issued a circular calling upon their friends and neighbors to assist them in establishing a church for 
the Catholics of the city. Mr. Le Couteulx possessed much land within the city limits and Father Badin 
persuaded him to donate a plot of land to Bishop Dubois which would serve for a church, priest's house 
and cemetery. Mr. Le Couteulx sent the deed of tliis plot of ground, which was located on the 
corner of Louis (or Edward) and Main streets to Bishop Dubois as a New Year's gift at the beginning 
of January, 1829. A part of this land on which the parochial residence of St. Louis' parish now rests 
was used for cemetery purposes, but only for a short period. 

Bishop Dubois came to Buffalo that year to inspect his gift and to consider the prospect of the 
establishment of a church at this extreme end of his diocese. Many Catholics had settled in Buffalo 
within a few months preceding the bishop's visit, and he found that a priest was urgently needed to 
attend the spiritual wants of the large number of Catholics in the town. The bishop held services in 
the court house, and heard, through an interpreter, confessions of about two hundred Swiss or Alsa- 
tians. He also blessed the grounds for the purposes for which they were donated, and readily acquiesced 
in the urgent appeal of the people for a priest. In the fall of this year the Rev. N. Mertz, a saintly 
old man, arrived in Buffalo as the first resident pastor west of Rochester. He established his residence 
on the west side of Pearl Street, in the rear of the old Eagle Hotel, and he said mass in a rented house 
nearby until the little church which was called "The Lamb of God," was built on the property donated 
by Mr. Le Couteulx. Father Mertz had collected some money in Europe for a church which he had 
intended to build farther west, and he had also a bronze or brass tabernacle on which there was the 
figure of a lamb, and this gave the name to the little log church which was the first edifice erected to the 
service of God in the diocese west of Rochester. 

Father Mertz also visited occasionally some of the other settlements outside of Buffalo. There 
were settlements then, or clusters of houses, at Lancaster, at Sheldon, at Java, and also some farmers 
at Eden, Williamsville and North Bush. Whenever Father Mertz could find time, or when he 


was called to any of these places to attend the sick, he visited the few Catholic families in these different 
places and did what he could to keep alive their faith or to console them with the sacraments. 

The extreme eastern end of the diocese, or what was afterwards the diocese of Buffalo, was looked 
after by the Rev. Francis O'Donoghue, who dwelt at SeUna, which is now Syracuse. Father O'Donog- 
hue occasionally visited Auburn, Owego, Elmira, Ithaca, Canandaigua and Geneva, until 1834 (1), 
when he bought the Methodist church on Chapel Street in Auburn and established his residence there. 
There was no other church in any of the above places, and the priest was merely an itinerant missionary 
who carried the chalice and vestments with him to these different places and said mass in the homes 
of some of the faithful. After Auburn, Canandaigua was the most important of these towns, and in 
1830, when the Rev. M. McNamara visited this place he found fourteen or fifteen Catholic families 
in the town. 

The new St. Louis' Church was a little log structure about 30 ft. x 50 ft. The timbers were of 
oak hewn by some of the members of the congregation in the forest along Delavan Avenue, and they 
were hauled to the ground by oxen. The interstices between the timbers were filled in with a compos- 
ite of hay and straw. The building of this little church was quite an undertaking in those days, and 
it was not ready for services until 1832. 

Bishop Dubois paid another visit to Buffalo in 1831 with Father Raff einer, who was vicar general 
of the diocese. Some misunderstanding arose between the trustees and the pastor about the financial 
affairs of the parish, and these were satisfactorily adjusted. The bishop probably blessed the building 
at this time and St. Louis' congregation was launched on its career. 

The Rev. J. F. McGerry was sent to St. Patrick's Church in Rochester in 1832 to adjust some 
financial difficulties which had arisen in the congregation. There was no order in financial affairs of 
the parishes at that period, and difficulties could easily arise where there was no rule or law to guide 
the trustees in their relation with the church. Father McNamara lived some distance in the country, 
and he left the financial affairs of the parish to the care of the trustees. The financial affairs were not 
adjusted in a manner pleasing to the bishop, and he ordered the church closed. Father McGerry 
remained in Rochester, and the Catholics rented a large meeting house on North St. Paul Street in 
which Father McGerry held services for them. Father McNamara was taken sick a short time later 
with cholera, and Father McGerry had just administered the sacraments to him when he died. There 
was a large school at this time attached to St. Patrick's Church, Rochester, and this was the first paro- 
chial school in the diocese. Father McGerry also attended the little church of St. Ambrose, at Greece, 
where there was a little Catholic settlement near Hanford's Landing. Father McGerry remained until 
November, 1832, when he was succeeded by the Rev. B. O'Reilly. Father O'Reilly soon adjusted 
the difficulties that existed in St. Patrick's congregation, and the interdict was taken off the church 
before Christmas of that year. 

After St. Patrick's Church was re-opened by Father O'Reilly, the Catholics, who had rented the 
meeting house in which Father McGerry held services, still retained it and they were attended by the 
Rev. Father Foley. The people in this section were not strong financially, and they did not make the 
payments on the building, and it reverted in 1835 to its former owners. The people then went back 
to old St. Patrick's Church. 

The new stone church of St. Patrick's was built in 1833, and it was sufliciently large to accommo- 
date all the Catholics at that time in Rochester. 

The Erie Canal was finished in November, 1834, and it opened up a vast territory to commerce 
and habitation. A few years later railroads were begun, and these brought more people to the region 
through which they passed. The railroad from Owego to Ithaca was built in 1832, and Father O'Don- 
oghue collected along the line of this work for his church at Auburn. He said mass in the court house 
at Ithaca, and he came afterwards occasionally until he retired from Auburn. In 1834 the Rev. B. 
O'Reilly came to Lockport and organized a congregation there and started a church building. Father 
McGerry filled his place at Rochester from November, 1834, to May, 1835, when Father O'ReiUy re- 
turned to his Rochester charge. Father O'Donoghue visited Elmira also a few times in 1834. 

There were a few Catholics in 1835 at Medina, and when the priest was at Lockport, on a tem- 
porary visit, he also called to see the few Catholics at Medina. The Germans at Tonawanda, Black 
Rock and North Bush, under the direction of Father Mertz, commenced a little log church in 1835, at 
North Bush, as it was the most central point for these settlements of German Catholics. Occasionally 

(1) Father Creedon thinks that Father O'Donoguue established his residence at Auburn about 1830, but it was 
probably two years later, because in 1832 he collected at Ithaca for tlie church at Auburn. 


the priest came from St. Louis' Church, and said mass for them in their little log church whenever he 
could find time from his other duties. 

The Rev. Alexander Pax came in 1835 to assist Father Mertz at St. Louis' Church. Father 
Mertz took advantage of the presence of Father Pax to pay a visit to Europe in order to collect funds 
for an orphan asylum which he proposed to establish. 

Father Raffeiner of Brooklyn advised the Germans of Rochester to secure a site and build a 
church. They had no priest, but the church, which was of brick, was soon ready for dedication. 

Father Mertz urged the establishment of a church at Williamsville about this time also; and when 
Father Neumann came in July, of the year following, he found the building partly erected. The walls 
were up, but it was still in a very unfinished state. Father Prost, the Redemptorist, had also advised 
the Germans at Rochester to build a church for their use, when he passed through that town on his 
way West in the year 1835. On his return he found the church already built, and he remained with 
them as the first pastor of St. Joseph's Church, Rochester. He came July 8th, 1836. The Rev. J. 
Neumann, who was afterwards bishop of Philadelphia, arrived by canal boat at Rochester a few days 
before Father Prost. Father Neumann said mass for the Germans, in St. Patrick's Church at Rochester, 
on tlie 3rd of July, 1836. St. Mary's Church, Rochester, was also opened this year, on July 10th, and 
services were held there twice a month. Father Neumann came to Buffalo a few days after his visit 
to Rochester, and he immediately took charge of the churches at Lancaster, Williamsville and North 
Bush. Father Neumann dwelt for some time at Williamsville, and then he removed nearer to the 
North Bush Church, where he boarded with a family named Smith. From here he occasionally visited 
Pendleton, Transit, Williamsville, Lancaster, and numerous other little settlements all through the 
western part of the State. 

There were settlements also in what was called the Southern Tier that were becoming at this time 
important on account of their population ; and in these little settlements and towns there were many 
Catholic dwellers. Father O'Reilly, from Friendsville, Pa., occasionally visited the Catholics of this 
region and said mass for them in 1837 and the following years in private houses. 

In 1837 the Irish, or the English speaking portion of the St. Louis' congregation at Buffalo, sepa- 
rated from their brethren of other nationalities and rented a place on Main Street, near Niagara street, 
in which services were held for them. Then they removed to the corner of Main Street and the Ter- 
race. The Rev. Chas. Smith came about May 1st, 1837, and said mass for them once a month in 
this rented room. The other Sundays of the month he visited Java, or some of the other settlements 
in the remote regions of the diocese where there were Catholic families which claimed his attention 
and services. Mr. Le Couteulx, who had given the St. Louis' Church property for all the Catholics 
of the city without distinction of nationality, donated another plot of ground on Louis (Edward) 
Street, for the English speaking Catholics of the city. An attempt was made to organize a congrega- 
tion; and Patrick Cannon, Patrick Milton and Maurice Vaughn, urged the incorporation of a congre- 
gation in order that they might take possession of the property and build a church. The majority, 
however, of the English speaking Catholics of the city decided that the site was too far out of town to 
be available for church purposes. 

Bishop Dubois came to Buffalo again in 1837, and administered confirmation to one hundred 
and fifty at St. Louis' Church, to twenty-five at Eden, to twenty at Williamsville and fifteen at North 

From North Bush Father Neumann, in 1837, visited for the first time Sheldon and Batavia. At 
Sheldon he said mass in the summer time on every second Sunday, at the home of Mr. George. At 
Batavia he baptized several persons, some of whom were fourteen years of age. This was the first 
visit of a priest at Batavia. Father Neumann also attended this year the Germans at Rochester; 
because the Redemptorists had, through some misunderstanding about financial matters, abandoned 
them. Father Neumann also began to say mass this year at Transit in a private house, and he here 
also began a little log church on some land donated by Mr. Blocher. 

It was very difficult at this period to do very extensive church building. The wages of laborers 
were sixty-two and one-half cents per day; and the most of the church building that was done was accom- 
plished by the voluntary contribution of labor by the people, who gave their time and material instead 
of money. 

Father Mertz was old and worn out with many years of missionary labor, and when he returned 
from Europe he resigned St. Louis' Church into the hands of Father Pax, and he retired in 1838, 
to the secluded and pleasant little town of Eden where he spent the remainder of his years in peace. 


In 1838 Father Czackert came from Ohio to assist Father Prost at St. Joseph's Church in Roch- 
ester. This congregation required the services of two priests, but the trustees caused some trouble 
about financial matters and Father Prost withdrew. Father Czackert also left the congregation three 
months later, and they were without a priest for an entire year. There were several other priests who 
visited some of the places in Western New York about the years 1838 and 1839, but their co mi ng was 
merely transitory, and they did not labor for any length of time in any one place or any one section of 
the country. Father Danaher was for some time at Rochester and Greece, and Father Mangan was 
for some time stationed at Java. The Rev. M. Connelly attended the little congregations at Auburn 
and Geneva. 

The Rev. John Hughes was appointed coadjutor of the diocese of New York in 1838. There 
were then seven churches in New York City, and eleven churches in other parts of the State of New 
York and four in New Jersey. There were about five priests in the diocese at that time; and the greater 
number of these had no permanent dwelling; and their work consisted of visiting the scattered settle- 
ments and little towns throughout the State, saying mass in private houses and court houses and 
in many cases, in the Protestant meeting houses, which had been purchased by the Catholics as a place 
in which they might hear mass when a priest by chance came their way. 

The Rev. P. Costello was located at Lockport in 1838, and he visited from there, Niagara Falls, 
Lewiston and Youngstown. This was probably the first visit of a priest to the settled Catholic inhab- 
itants of these places. Dansville is first mentioned in the almanac of this year, and it was attended by 
the Redemptorist fathers from Rochester. St. Joseph's Church, Rochester, also appears for the first 
time in the almanac in 1837. Father Prost was the pastor of the congregation, which was organized 
in 1836 by Father O'Reilly. It had at this time about 150 families and a respectable parochial school, 
the sessions of which were held in the basement of the church. Medina is mentioned in the almanac 
this year as possessing a church which was not then dedicated. It was attended by Father Costello 
from Lockport. 

Bishop Hughes came to Buffalo in August, 1839, and on the 15th of that month he confirmed 
one hundred and ninety persons in St. Louis' Church at the morning service. In the afternoon he 
preached to the English speaking Catholic people of the city in a large hall. He advised them to buy 
the property on the corner of Batavia and Ellicott streets for a church which was to be dedicated 
under the title of St. Patrick. 

St. Joseph's Church, in Rochester, had been without a pastor for a whole year when the Rev. 
Simon Sandrel, an Indian missionary, consented to take charge of the parish. He also encountered 
the same difficulty with the trustees as his predecessor, and he soon retired from the congregation and 
took charge of St. Mary's Parish. When Bishop Hughes reached Rochester on his visit this year, to 
bless the cemetery, he gave Father Sandrel permission to build another church. Father Sandrel told 
the people of St. Joseph's that if the trustees would turn over the money in their possession he would 
build a large church for them. The trustees at first refused, but at a meeting of the congregation, 
they agreed to Father Sandrel's proposition, and he bought the land and had the deed made out in the 
name of the Redemptorist order, of which he was a member. 

In 1839 and 1840 mass was said for the first time in several of the small places of the diocese. 
The priest from Auburn said mass at Jefferson, which is now called Watkins, and Father Beyer, from 
Rochester, said mass in the house of Mr. Clancy at Scio. The first mass was celebrated in Cuba in 
this year by Father Urquhart from Java. Father Grace was stationed at Auburn for a short time in 
1840. He died there on the 9th of April, and was succeeded by Father Bradley. The Rev. B. O'Reilly 
of Rochester was the pioneer priest in many of the small towns some distance from Rochester. He 
visited Palmyra three or four times in 1840, and said mass in private houses. He also said mass in 
Watkins four times in 1840, in a private house. The Rev. J. Neumann resigned his charge at 
Williamsville in 1840 and joined the Redemptorist order. He went to a house of the order at Pitts- 
burg, and he was succeeded in his missionary work by the Rev. Alexander Pax. 

Bishop Janson, of Nancy, France, visited Buffalo in 1840 and confirmed two hundred persons 
in St. Louis' Church on the 26th day of August of that year. 

When Bishop Hughes was in Rochester to bless the cemetery, he advised the Irish to build another 
church. St. Patrick's was overcrowded, and the people were too scattered to conveniently attend this 
one church for the English speaking Catholics of the city. They still had a claim on the old church 
of St. Mary's, which they lost by not making payments on it at the proper time, and they re-bought it 
in 1841 and again converted it into a Catholic church. 


German priests were very scarce in the country and in the diocese of New York at this period. 
Bishop Hughes made every effort to secure German speaking priests from Europe; and the few they 
had labored in the western part of the State as sort of itinerant missionaries, going from one town or 
settlement to another to spend a few days with their fellow countrymen, saymg mass for them or teach- 
ing them the principles of their faith. One German priest, the Rev. Theodore Noethen, was added 
to the number in 1841 of German priests who were laboring in the western portion of the State. He 
settled at Lancaster this year as the first resident pastor. 

The number of English speaking Catholic people in Buffalo increased very rapidly in the year 
1841. The Boston & Buffalo R. R. was then in process of construction, and this work brought many 
railroad men to Buffalo. The new church of St. Patrick's was opened about the 1st of May of this 
year and a school was also established in the basement of the building, which was taught by Mathew 

Many of the places of the diocese began at this period to assume an appearance of substantial 
growth and stability. As the towns grew the numbers of Catholics increased, and resident pastors 
became a necessity in all the larger places. The Rev. C. McMuUen established his residence in Lock- 
port in 1842, and from there he attended many of the adjoining missions. Batavia was also attended 
regularly this year by the Rev. T. Noethen of Williamsville. Lewiston was regularly attended from 
Lockport, as were also Medina, Albion and Niagara Falls. Sheldon is first mentioned in the almanac 
for this year as a mission which was regularly attended from Williamsville. Transit and Tonawanda 
were also regularly attended about this time from Williamsville. St. Peter's Church, of Rochester, 
was organized in the year 1843, and the Rev. Francis J. Levitz assumed charge of the parish imme- 
diately after the dedication of the church, which took place on the 29th of June, 1843. The parish 
was formed from St. Joseph's congregation, and the church was built before the arrival of the first pastor. 

The work of the vast diocese of New York was even too. much for such an energetic bishop as 
John Hughes, and the Rev. John McCloskey, who was pastor of St. Joseph's Church, New York, was 
appointed coadjutor of the diocese of New York on March 10, 1844. Bishop McCloskey, this year 
ordained three young priests at Fordham, who were immediately sent on the missions in the western 
part of the State. These were: The Rev. Wm. O'Reilly, Rev. John Sheridan and the Rev. Thomas 
McEvoy. Father Sheridan succeeded Father Doyle at Binghamton, and took charge of many of 
the little missions within forty or fifty miles of his place of dwelling. Father McEvoy took up his 
residence at Java, and from there he extended his missionary labors through Wyoming, Genesee, Cat- 
taraugus, Allegany and Chautauqua counties. Father O'Reilly was assigned to Rochester, where he 
assisted his brother in the large congregation at St. Patrick's Church. Another parish was organized 
in Buffalo at this time by the Redemptorist Fathers, and a long, low, brick building was erected for 
the congregation on the corner of Batavia and Pine streets. 

■ An Ecclesiastical Seminary was started at New York in the year 1845. The corner stone was 
laid on the 27th of March of that year by Bishop McCloskey. The opening of the seminary promised 
a necessary supply of priests for the vast territory and the fast growing church throughout the State 
of New York. In 1845 Fatlier McEvoy built a little church at Greenwood which served for the pros- 
perous farming community which had settled in that district. Elmira was formerly attended from 
Auburn, but in 1845, it was attached to the Binghamton mission. 

With the advent of more priests, new churches and new congregations appeared all through the 
western portion of the State. It was impossible for Bishop Hughes and his coadjutor to attend to 
this immense region. Although the priests performed their duties faithfully, yet they were so far 
removed from church authority and episcopal direction that they could not do such efficient work as 
if they had the counsel of the bishop and guidance of more definite law to direct them in their labors. 

Buffalo was incorporated as a city in 1832, and it had then a population of about 40,000. There 
were three Catholic churches in the city: St. Louis', St. Patrick's and St. Mary's. Rochester was 
incorporated as a city in 1834, and it then had a population of about 30,000. There were four Catholic 
churches in Rochester when the city was incorporated: St. Patrick's, St. Joseph's, St. Mary's and St. 
Peter and St. Paul's. These were two large and fast growing cities ; and many other towns in the west- 
ern portion of the State were also growing very rapidly, and the Catholic population of all these places 
increased with the growth of the towns. Rome decided, with the advice of Archbishop Hughes, to 
establish two more bishoprics in the State of New York, one at Albany and one at Buffalo. The Very 
Rev. John Timon, the visitor-general of the Lazarists, was selected as the bishop of Buffalo. There 
was always rivalry between the cities of Rochester and Buffalo, and this spirit of rivalry pervaded also 

Archbishop of Toronto. 
Founder of the Seminary and College of Our Lady of Angels, Niagara University. 

NiagarR University. 


Very Rev. W. F. LIKLY, C. M., 
President and Superior, Niagara University. 

Vice-President, Niagara University. 

Rev. L. a. GRACE, C. M., 
Secretary, Niagara University. 

Rev. R. F. WALTERS, C. M., 
Treasurer,, Niagara University. 

(The late) Very Rev. R. E. V. RICE, C. M. 

(The late) Very Rev. P. V. KAVANAGH, C. M. 

(The late) Rev. JNO. B. McEVOY. 


Niagara Falls. 

Rev. JAS. J. ROCHE, Niagara Falls. 



Church and Rectory, 


Niagara Falls. 

Rev. WM. J. McNAB, Niagara Falls. 

Niagara Falls. 

(The late) Rev. N A. GIBBONS. 

Rev. peter BERKERY, Medina. 


Convent School and Rectory, Lancaster. 




Rector, Church of St. Paul of the Cross, 




Rt. Rev. A. ADOLPH, 

. ....ix>-;-«3>^«A.>.. 

'" — 









Rev. p. GEMtJNGT, Swormville. 


Very Rev. P. JOSEPH BUTLER, O. F. M. 
President, Allegany. 





Catholic societies in the two cities. The Catholics of Rochester maintained that their city contained 
more Catholics and was more central than Buffalo, and that, consequently, it should be the residence 
of the new bishop. This feeling, which seemed of little import, became quite a serious matter, and 
some years later, when the bishop desired to collect funds for his great cathedral at Buffalo, many of 
the Catholics at Rochester were not disposed to subscribe towards the building of the cathedral in their 
rival city. Bishop Timon found it necessary to convince the people of Rochester in his sermons and 
lectures on two or three different occasions that he was appointed bishop of Buffalo and not bishop of 
Rochester, and that the naming of the See was not of his choice, but that it was the selection of Rome ; 
and the growth of the great city of Buffalo, which has now assumed Metropolitan proportions, proves 
the judgment of Rome and the wisdom of the first bishop of Buffalo. 



jIT the beginning of the nineteenth century there was only one bishop, and consequently, 
only one diocese in the United States. This was the diocese of Baltimore over which 
the Rt. Rev. John Carroll presided. It was impossible for one bishop to fulfill the 
duties of liis ofiice over such an immense extent of territory. 

Incipient congregations were giving evidence of embryonic existence in remotely 
separated localities of this vast extent of land; and these required the attention of wise councillors to 
bring them to successful existence. New York was growing rapidly, and little settlements began to 
dot the State wherever localities favorable to agriculture or navigation were found. Means of transit 
were not so numerous or rapid in those days but that a journey from Baltimore to the interior, or upper 
portion of New York State, would constitute a serious undertaking. New York was also favorably 
located for rapid growth. The great port of entry for foreign goods and of export of native products 
must make rapid strides in growth as the metropolis of the New World. The church authorities were 
fully alive to the possibilities of the Empire State, and they early resolved to provide as fully as possible 
for the numerous Catholic immigrants who would take up their abode witliin this domain. Priests 
were needed ; but more bishops were necessary to confirm the young, to supervise the administration 
of the sacraments, to secure church property, and to guide the work of the priests. 

In 1880 Baltimore was made an Archepiscopal See, and four new dioceses were erected in different 
parts of the country. The Rev. Luke Concanen of the order of St. Domonic, was appointed the first 
bishop of the new diocese of New York. He was distinguished in his order for piety and learning, 
and for his business ability. He was at the head of the Monastery of St. Clement in Rome, and had 
held several other important positions of honor in his order. He was consecrated at Rome on April 
24th, 1808, by Cardinal Antonelli, Prefect of the Propaganda. 

Shortly after his consecration he made an effort to reach his new diocese, bearing also with him 
the pallium for Archbishop Carroll, the first archbishop in the United States. There were no regular 
lines of passenger vessels then between Italy and America as there are now; and after waiting four 
months at Leghorn for a vessel to take him to New York, he returned to Rome. He then proceeded 
to Naples on the same mission. Naples was then held by the French, and under the plea that the new 
bishop was a British subject, they would not allow him to sail for New York. He died at Naples 
shortly afterwards, without ever having seen his new See. 

Bishop Concanen had evidently appointed priests to represent him as his vicars-general, and the 
Rev. Anthony Kohlman and the Rev. Benedict Fenwick managed the affairs of the diocese until a 
new bishop was appointed. These two were able, zealous and learned men; and they did much to 
overcome the prejudice against the Catholics, and to establish the church firmly in the City of New York. 

They lived near St. Peter's Church, but the rapidly increasing number of Catholics induced them 
to start another church, and Father Kohlman laid the corner stone of St. Patrick's Cathedral (1) on 
the 18th of June, 1809. This new church was under the same trustees as St. Peter's, and was not ready 
for consecration until 1815, when it was consecrated on the feast of the Ascension by Bishop Cheverus, 
of Boston. 

Father Kohlman (2) and Father Fenwick (3) established an institute of learning, or school, known 
as the "New York Literary Institution," which did good work in teaching Sunday-school, and in dis- 
pelling bigotry, by spreading the knowledge of Catholic teaching. 

During Father Kolilman's time an event occurred of great importance to the Catholic community 
and to the future position of the Catholic church in the State of New York. The question of profes- 

(1) This was the old St. Patrick's in Mulberry and Prince Street. 

(2) Father Kohlman was born at Kaiserburg in 1771. He was ordained in Switzerland and entered the Jesuit 
order in 1S05, and two years later he came to the United States. 

(3) Father Fenwick was born in Maryland in 1782. He was of an old English family and was ordained in 1807. 
He came to St. Peter's in 1808 and remained until 1817, when he became President of Georgetown College. 


sional privilege and sacredness of the secrets of the confessional was determined by the courts. Goods 
had been stolen from a citizen named Keating. The thief evidently repented, and through Father 
Kohlman, the goods were returned to their lawful owner. Keating had previously obtained a warrant 
for a Mr. Philips and his wife, whom he suspected of having received the missing goods, and on this 
warrant Philips and his wife were indicted and held for the jury. Keating testified that the goods were 
restored to him through the instrumentality of Father Kohlman, and the latter was cited before the 
court and required to give evidence in regard to the person from whom he had received the stolen 
goods. Father Kohlman refused to do this, on the ground that a priest could not be compelled to 
testify in regard to anything he knew only through the confessional. His case was presented to the 
grand jury, and again Father Kohlman was called upon to testify. He begged to be excused on the 
plea of privileged communication. The case excited a great deal of interest, and able lawyers offered 
their services in defense of the position maintained by Father Kohlman. The Hon. De Witt Clinton 
rendered the decision in favor of Father Kohlman. In giving liis decision he declared: "They (the 
Catholics) are protected by the laws and constitution of this country in the full and free exercise of 
their religion, and this court can never countenance or authorize the application of insult to their faith, 
or of torture to their consciences." (1) The principle communicated in this decision afterwards 
became a statute of the State, and is in harmony with the religious liberty guaranteed by the constitution. 

The head of the church. Pope Pius VII, was at this time in exile, and the appointment of bishops 
along with many other important affairs were delayed, awaiting his return to Rome. Soon after his 
return in 1814, a successor was appointed to Bishop Concanen. The new bishop was the Rev. 
John Connolly, of the order of St. Dominic, who was then like his predecessor. Bishop Concanen, 
at the head of the Monastery of St. Clements' in Rome. He was consecrated at Rome in November, 
1814, but he did not reach his episcopal city until a year later, having spent the intervening time in 
Rome and in Ireland. He took up his residence on the Bowery, which was then a respectable residence 
quarter, and later in Broome Street, and finally at 572 Broadway, where he died. 

Bishop Connolly was very modest in his demeanor and simple in his manner of living. Owing 
to the scarcity of priests he was obliged to do parish work like any ordinary priest; and he spent long 
hours in the confessional, and visited the sick in remote parts of his diocese. He did not have 
clergymen enough to carry out the imposing ceremonies of his office (2), so he dispensed with these, 
and on Sundays he sang high mass without the insignia of his station. 

There were only four priests in the diocese in 1816; and these could not adequately administer 
to the spiritual wants of the faithful of New York alone,without giving any consideration or time to the 
Catholics scattered throughout the vast diocese. There were then nearly twenty thousand (3) Catho- 
lics in New York, and about two or three more scattered through the diocese. No permanent pastor 
could be assigned to these scattered clusters of Catholics. The four priests then in the diocese had 
more work than they could attend to in New York, and no one place outside of the metropolis could 
maintain a priest except Albany. The Catholics of this city on the Hudson appealed to the Rev. 
Corr, of Mary's Lane Chapel, to come to administer to them (4). 

More priests were necessary to carry on the work of forming congregations, of explaining the doc- 
trines of the church in bigoted communities, and of preventing the young from losing their faith. Without 
instruction in their religion, and withlittleopportunityof practicing the principles of their faith, the Catho- 
lic young people fell into the habits of their Protestant associates and adopted the denominational 
practices of their environments. Bishop Connolly was very anxious to procure itinerant missionary 
priests, or "ambulatory zealous priests," as he called them ; to supply the scattered districts of the dio- 
cese, and to prevent their (Catholic) children from conforming to the persuasions of neighboring sec- 
taries. There was only one ecclesiastical seminary in the country, and that had very few students ; 
so the only hope was in getting priests or students from Europe. 

Priests and bishops were greatly needed for the Church in the United States. As soon as New 
York was made a diocese the Church immediately began to assume a position of importance unheard 
of before. Politicians (5), who were ready before to raise the no-popery cry to gain their case, realized 
that Cathohcs formed an important body and could not be insulted with impunity. More solemnity 
was added to the ceremonies of the Church under the new bishop; and with true American spirit, 

(1) Sampson, "The Catholic Question in America." 

(2) He did not use mitre or crosier. At that time priests wore the white cravat lilce the ministers. 

(3) Bishop Connolly says seventeen thousand. Letter to Dr. Fray. 

(4) Bishop Connolly's letter to Dr. Fray. 

(5) Politicians frequently flaunted the no-popery bogey merely to show that their principles were sound. 


people were led to investigate the claims to truth of this religious body that was making such rapid 
progress. Tliis disposition brought many converts to the Church. People no longer looked upon 
Catholics as a foreign body. 

Officers and men of the French army and navy, who did so much to secure the independence of 
the colonies, were mostly Catholics. Catholics fought side by side with their fellow citizens in the 
American army and navy for the freedom of the colonies (1). Washington publicly thanked the 
Catholics for the part they played in emancipating the colonies from British rule, and he expressed 
the wish that his fellow citizens would ever be mindful of the patriotism of the Cathohcs during the 

These different circumstances aided materially in the development of the Church, and added 
dignity to her position in the United States. Intelligent men were drawn to her services and many 
converts became her most faithful followers. The rector (2) of the Episcopal Church of St. George, 
of the City of New York, was one of the first to join the fold of the Catholic Church, and many other 
prominent people followed his example. 

The Church in New York had profited so much by the presence of a bishop that Bishop Connolly 
urged Rome to appoint at least one bishop for every state in the Union. The tide of immigration 
had set in toward the South, and Bishop Connolly believed that there the Church would have a rapid 
and immense growth. Many Catholics had settled in the Carolinas and Georgia; and the presence 
of a bishop there would do as much for the Church as it had done in New York. 

Priests were needed as well as bishops. They were needed not only to visit the sick and to ad- 
minister the sacraments, but to relieve the few bishops then in the country of the burden not directly 
connected with their office. 

Bishop Connolly was old when he was consecrated, and the anxieties and strenuous labors of his 
episcopal career in New York soon undermined his constitution. Although the diocese was numer- 
ically small, yet the duties of the bishop were very arduous; everything was in a chaotic state. The 
legal status of the Church was yet to be determined. Trustees held the deeds of church property and 
claimed the right of securing or removing pastors. The entire policy of the Church was yet to be 
established by enactments of the legislature and by decree, of ecclesiastical authorities. All these 
demanded careful thought, legal advice, and serious consideration of the regulations that were to form 
the ground work of church law in the State of New York. 

Bishop Connolly was not pleased with the position assumed by the trustees ; but he was powerless 
to remedy an evil that arose naturally from the prevailing conditions. He was very willing to allow 
the people to invite priests from their old homes in England, Ireland, Germany or France, to come to 
be their pastor. Long before there was a bishop in New York Catholic laymen had bought property for 
church purposes, and had formed corporate bodies in which the titles were vested. They were faithful 
Catholics who acted thus and their acts were inspired by the holiest motives of faith; but these prece- 
dent principles established from pure love of religion afterwards became the source of much evil. 
People were allowed the privilege of calling pastors to incipient parishes, and this privilege was after- 
wards claimed as a right. As a result of the right to call pastors came the right to dismiss ; and the 
power over priests was taken from the bishop. 

The tenure of church property was another prolific source of trouble. Nearly all new parishes 
were organized by laymen. Property was secured by them and trustees were selected to hold it in 
the name of a corporation. There was no special legislation at that time for Cathohc church property, 
and all religious bodies were incorporated under the same general law (3). Protestant congregations 
could, through their trustees, appoint or remove their pastors at will; and Catholics were easily led 
into the same practice. They had the same incorporation; then why should they not have the same 
powers ? They had enjoyed the privilege of calling their pastors, and it was only a short step more 
to the right of rejecting them, or of refusing to pay their salary if displeasing to them. 

The bishops could do nothing to remedy these obnoxious conditions but await developments. 
With the growth of the Church would come more priests; State laws would be enacted to regulate the 
control of Catholic church property, and particular church laws would guide the people. In the mean- 
time, the bishop must labor like any ordinary priest except that more was required of him, because the 
welfare of the people of the whole diocese rested on his shoulders. Bishop Connolly struggled along 

(1) Washington's reply to congratulatory letter from Catholics of the United States. 

(2) The Rev. Mr. Kewley an Englishman, who was educated at Cambridge. 

(3) The law of 1813. 


bravely under these conditions until his body, worn out with labors, found rest in death in his home 
on Broadway (1). 

The See of New York was vacant for nearly two years after the death of Bishop Connolly. Its 
affairs were administered during this period by the Very Rev. Dr. Power, who had been appointed 
Vicar-General by Bishop Connolly. Dr. Power was born at Roscarberry, County Cork, Ireland, in 
1792, and he came to New York shortly after his ordination at the solicitations of the trustees of St. 
Peter's. He became their pastor, and he labored in New York until his death in 1849, when he was 
buried beneath the Cathedral. 

After nearly two years of vacancy the See of New York was filled by the appointment of Rev. 
John Dubois, who then held the important office of president of St. Mary's College, Emmitsburg, 
Maryland. Bishop Dubois was born in Paris, in August, 1764, and received his early education in the 
College of Louis le Grand. The College of Louis le Grand was the celebrated Jesuit institution of 
learning in Paris at which most of the French celebrities of the time received their early training. 
Here the future bishop formed friendship with characters that became widely known in different 
spheres in after life. Here he had for classmates Robespierre (2) and Camille Desmoulins, as well 
as the Abbe Duval and the Abbe Leontard. Young Dubois turned his thoughts to the Church, studied 
for the priesthood at the Oratorian Seminary in Paris, and was ordained in 1789. He was appointed 
assistant priest at the Church of St. Sulpice, where he labored until the Revolution put an end to his 
work. He then obtained letters of introduction from Lafayette to prominent people in America. He 
went in disguise to Havre, where he took passage in a sailing vessel, which landed him at Norfolk in 
August, 1791. 

He labored for many years in Virginia and Maryland and formed friendship, with some of the 
most prominent men (3) of the country. 

He became a member of the order of St. Sulpice, and established Mount St. Mary's College, 
which sent out from its halls of learning, especially in those early years,|so many zealous priests to carry 
on the mission work of the Catholic Church in America. The one institution most needed at that 
time by the Church in the United States was an ecclesiastical seminary to educate young men for the 
priesthood; and the founding of St. Mary's College testifies to the enlightened zeal of Father Dubois. 

It was to Father Dubois Rome turned when a successor was sought for Bishop Connolly. A better 
selection could not have been made at that time for the Catholic bishop of the growing metropolis of 
America. He possessed the courtly grace (4) of the cultivated French gentleman, and his intimate 
association with the most prominent men of his day added additional lustre to his position as head of 
the Church in the State of New York. His mind was well stored with the science of theology, with 
the history of the world and with the knowledge of men. 

The new bishop was consecrated in the Cathedral at Baltimore, by Archbishop Marechal, October 
29, 1826, and took possession of his See a few days later on the feast of All Saints. 

It was a very uninviting field indeed to which the new bishop came. There was a large and 
rapidly increasing Catholic population; but there were only four priests to administer to them, and 
there was no immediate prospect of remedying this defect. 

The three churches were heavily burdened with debt, and their financial affairs were badly man- 
aged by boards of trustees, who claimed absolute control of the financial affairs of the churches. This 
assumption on the part of the trustees led to may misunderstandings and diflSculties. The trustees 
claimed the right in some cases to withhold the salaries of priests who were not pleasing to them; and 
it was but a short step farther to refuse any but priests of their won choosing. 

This principal, which was known as trusteeism, was the great affliction in the early life of the 
Church in the State of New York. Bishop Connolly writhed under the scourge, but was obliged to 
suffer in silence because it was not in his power to remedy it. He saw with sorrow the priests, whom 
he knew to be good and well equipped for their duties, rejected by the trustees for some whimsical 
reason; and he knew that funds were foolishly squandered which should have aided in the progress 
of the Church. 

(1) No. 512. He died on Feb. 5, 1825. 

(2) Bishop Brut6 says that it was through the influence of Robespierre that Father Dubois escaped from 

(3) He lived for some time with Mr. Monroe, afterwards President of the U. S., and he also dwelt with Gov. Lee 
of Maryland. 

(4) Bishop Dubois called on President Jackson when the latter was on a visit to New York, and the President 
afterwards remarked that he was the most complete gentleman that he had ever met. 


Trustees preferred priests from their own homes in Europe, and on their own responsibiUty they 
invited such to come to administer to them. This principle could not be productive of harmony in 
the mixed population of America. A priest from England or France might not be pleasing to Irish 
trustees, or a priest from Cork might not be satisfactory to trustees from Clare. They even objected 
to Bishop Dubois, that he was French. The answer of the bishop should have banished forever from 
the soil of America, as St. Patrick's power banished the snakes from Ireland, this intolerant spirit of 
race prejudice. "If we were not long ago Americans, our oath of allegiance, our habits, our gratitude 
and our affections ; thirty-five years spent in the toils of the missions and in the cause of public educa- 
tion will surely give us the right to exclaim: We, too, are Americans. But we are Catholics. All 
distinctions of birth and country are lost in this common profession." 

The trustees were not ready in every case to be guided by reason, nor were they willing to relinquish 
the power which they foolishly believed to arise from their office. The bishop was practically power- 
less. He had only four priests to look after the spiritual welfare of about 30,000 Catholics in the City 
of New York. There were 100,000 Catholics in the State at that time outside of New York City, and 
there were only two or three priests to look after their welfare. This was not a very promising prospect 
for a zealous bishop. He could only do as his predecessor did; work hard like any ordinary priest and 
pray that the trustees would not cause trouble. 


A Catholic congregation was formed at Albany, about the year 1808, and this was the farthest 
point west in the diocese at which there was a priest for some years. The priest from Albany attended 
Utica and a small settlement on the Black River named Carthage. Those places soon grew in popula- 
tion and importance, and they wished to have a resident priest nearer than Albany. Father O' Gorman 
was pastor of St. Mary's Church at Albany from which place he attended Utica. In January, 1819, 
Father O' Gorman called a meeting in the court house at Utica, and they decided to erect a church for 
the Catholics of Central and Western New York. His church was intended to supply the wants of 
all Catholics between Albany and Buffalo. A corporation was formed under the title of the "Trustees 
of the first Catholic Church in the Western district of New York." The trustees who formed the 
corporation were: John O'Connor, of Auburn; John C. Deveraux and Nicholas Deveraux, of Utica; 

Morris Hogan, of New Hartford; Oliver W , of Johnstown; Thomas McCarthy, of Syracuse; 

John McGuire, of Rochester, and Charles Carroll, of Genesee River. The residences of the trustees 
will give us some idea of the extent of territory that this new parish was designed to cover. 

The unfortunate Catholics outside the City of New York were for years deprived of any religious 
services. They were scattered through the different settlements and hamlets of the State; and their 
only consolation consisted in the sporadic visits of some itinerant priest who would say mass for them 
and administer the sacraments. The bishop had more than he could attend to in the City of New York, 
without giving any care to the rest of his flock in the remote parts of the State ; yet his thoughts must 
necessarily turn to this abandoned portion of his flock, and their condition must bring him many hours 
of anxious pain. It was beyond the physical powers of any man to fulfil all the duties of the Catholic 
bishop of New York at this period. There should have been thirty priests in New York City alone, 
to look after the interests of the Catholics there at this time; and the zealous bishop strove to do the 
work of at least twenty priests and attend to the duties of his own portion also. 

Bishop Connolly was, no doubt, worn out with labors and anxious cares. The Catholic popula- 
tion had been increasing very rapidly, but no more priests came, and the trustees seemed to grow in 
importance as the congregations enlarged. That the trustees caused the bishop much trouble is 
evident from his diary and his letters. They frequently refused to follow his suggestions or be guided 
by his counsel. The bishop could not command. He could only advise the people to dismiss the 
trustees; and even when this was done harmony did not reign. They claimed absolute power over 
the property and funds of the church and they often used these for their own ends or against the wishes 
of the bishop. 

Bishop Dubois was a wise, learned and able man. He could not, however, immediately 
change the condition which made the bishop's life a burden. He could condemn the assumptions of 
the trustees, but necessity often compelled him to yield to their exactions. On one occasion the trustees 



of the Cathedral refused to accept a pastor appointed by the bishop. They waited on the bishop and 
respectfully informed liim that they were elected by the people to manage the financial affairs of the 
church, and they could not conscientiously vote the bishop's salary unless he appointed such priests as 
were pleasing to them. The bishop's reply was full of fatherly firmness, "Well, gentlemen, you may 
vote the salary or not, just as seems good to you. I do not need much. I can live in the basement 
or in the garret; but whether I come up from the basement or down from the garret, I will still be your 
bishop." Wliilst they refused to accept the pastor appointed by the bishop they continued to pay the 
salary of a suspended priest. 

Bishop Dubois had some idea of the fast growing Catholic population- in the remote parts of liis 
diocese, but he decided to obtain more intimate knowledge by personal visitation. Travel in those 
days was not so rapid or comfortable as at present. The Erie Canal furnished the most rapid means 
of transit, and it was along tliis highway that the principal settlements were made in the State. On 
this visit Bishop Dubois confirmed a small class at Utica, and tliis was the first time this sacrament 
was administered in the central or western part of the State. The bishop found churches at Auburn 
and at Rochester, in the subsequent diocese of Buffalo. Greece, too, had a church at this time, but 
no pastor. The bishop was surprised at the large number of Catholics he found in Buffalo, and he 
immediately prepared to provide a church and priest for them. 

This first Episcopal visitation, through the settled portions of the present diocese of Buffalo, 
revealed to the bishop the actual condition and the urgent needs of his diocese. He needed priests 
very badly to look after the spiritual wants of the fast growing Catholic population of his diocese. He 
embodied the result of his visitation in a report which he prepared for the Holy See, and he hastened 
with it to Rome to explain the peculiar condition of his diocese, and to seek advice and assistance. 




UBXJRN was the first place in the western part of the State that attained importance. 
The soldiers who marched with Sullivan against the Iroquois Indians, spread the fame 
of the beauty of the region among their friends in the East. After the revolutionary war 
the govermennt gave a bounty of land to the soldiers, and many of them eagerly accepted 
the allotments on the site of the future city of Auburn. 

The early inhabitants were good, energetic business men, and they laid out good roads which made 
Auburn an accessible market for the surrounding country. Auburn was incorporated as a village in 
1815, and it had at that time a population of nearly 1,000. Rochester then was a mere cluster of log 
huts ; and Geneva and Canandaigua, the only other places of note in the western part of the State, were 
not giving any evidences of growth. 

A great boom was given to the town in 1816, by the selection of Auburn as the site of the famous 
prison. Mechanics from different parts flocked to Auburn where work was plentiful and wages good. 
A bank was started, hotels sprang up, and the town assumed an appearance of prosperity second to 
none in the State outside of New York City. Among the early business men and mechanics were some 
Catholics. Mr. John O'Connor came to Auburn in 1816 and found but one Catholic family. This 
was probably the family of Thomas Hickson, who had a hotel there the next year. In the next few 
years the number of Catholics increased; children were born but not baptized, and people desired 
to receive other sacraments, so they sent to New York for a priest. The Rev. Michael O' Gorman 
came in 1820, administered the sacraments and said mass for them, and remained long enough to 
form the nucleus of a congregation. The corporation was called the fourth Roman Catholic Church 
of the western district of New York.. The original trustees were Hugh Ward, John Connor, James 
Hickson, Thomas Hickson, David Lawler. 

Father O'Connor (1) could not remain long in Auburn, and after saying mass in the court house 
for the four or five Catholic families there at that time, he proceeded to Rochester, where {here was 
another little cluster of Catholics. 

Rochester at tliis time could boast of a population of about 1,500, and among these there were 
several Catholic families. Two of the trustees of the church at Utica, which was organized the pre- 
ceding year, represented the region around Rochester; James McGuire lived in Rochester, Charles 
Carroll dwelling on the Genesee River, at Groveland. On the Genesee, in the town of Greece, there 
were some Irish Catholic settlers who thought that a future city might grow up on the banks of the 
lower river. An incipient town had been started in 1810, at Hanfords Landing; and at this early date 
Hugh McDermaid, Felix McGuire and James Daily, three Irish Catholics, had already taken land in 
the vicinity of their future homes ; and a few years later they established at Greece the first Catholic 
Church in the State outside of the large towns. 

The next year Buffalo also received the first visit of a Catholic clergyman within her borders. 
Buffalo at that time could boast of about 1,000 inhabitants. Four or five of the settled families were 
Catholics, who journeyed from the East in search of propitious homes. Louis Le Couteulx (2) took 
up his residence here in 1804, and he became prominently identified with the early history of the Church 
in this region. He was of a generous and religious nature, and a conspicuous example of the polished 
French gentleman. He dwelt at Albany before his arrival in Buffalo, and whilst residing there he 
assisted in the organization of the first Catholic congregation in the State outside the City of New York. 
He acquired several tracts of land on the site of the future city, and some of this was donated for churches 
and for charitable institutions. 

Patrick O'Rourke and family were the next Catholics to establish a permanent dwelling in Buffalo. 
They dwelt for a time at Albany before the journey westward in search of a home. They arrived in 

(1) Bailey, History of the Catholic Church on the Island of New York. 

(2) Mr. Le Couteulx established his residence on the corner of Main and Exchange streets. He kept a drug store 
in his residence, which fronted on Exchange Street. 


Buffalo in 1815; and in the subsequent years they made journeys to Albany and to Monroe (1), Michi- 
gan, to have their childi-en baptized and to receive the sacraments. Such was the firm faith of some 
of the pioneer Catholics. It was only such strong faith that could survive the spiritual desolation in 
the frontier settlements of those days. The only public religious practices possible were the family 
prayers recited at the fireside, or the reading of some spiritual book, when the Catholic community 
possessed such a treasure. 

We can imagine how welcome the visit of a Catholic clergyman must be in the remote regions to 
the Catholic inhabitants. They sometimes waited for years to have their children baptized and to 
receive the sacraments, and the advent of a priest was the occasion of great gladness. He could say 
mass for them in one of their homes, or in the court house; would baptize their children, would give 
them holy communion, and in their happy moments they would feel that they were again members of 
the Church from which they had been practically excluded. 

Bishop Conwell was consecrated Bishop of Philadelphia in 1820, and the year following he had 
occasion to consult the Bishop of Quebec in regard to some of the affairs of his diocese. For more than 
a century the St. Lawrence River offered a facile route for traffic and travel between Quebec and the 
fur posts and forts of the West. Bishop Conwell came to Buffalo to take the river route to visit his 
fellow-bishop at Quebec. In Buffalo he found the little cluster of Catholics already mentioned, and 
he undoubtedly said mass for them in the house of Mr. Le Couteulx or Mr. O'Rourke, and adminis- 
tered the sacrament of baptism (2). 

The Rev. Patrick Kelly was ordained by Bishop Dubois in 1821, and was immediately commis- 
sioned to look after the Catholics in the western part of the State. He was educated in Kilkenny College, 
in Ireland, and came to New York ready for ordination. He labored for about two years among the 
little towns and hamlets of the western part of the State, and then he left the diocese and proceeded to 
Michigan. Father Kelly was the first resident pastor in the western portion of the Sate. Rochester 
and Auburn claimed most of his time and attention, for here there were fast growing communities 
and several Catholic families. Buffalo, too, began to boom up at this time as a stronghold of the 
Church. His was a very ample field for one pastor. His parish was the whole of the original Buffalo 
diocese, in which there are now about one million inhabitants and about one-third million Catholics. 
He said mass at uncertain intervals in private homes, in Auburn, Rochester and Buffalo; but he was 
called to any part of the western portion of the State to console the dying or to bury the dead. 

This was an immense territory to traverse, and, with the means of locomotion in those days, it was 
a very difficult one. There were stage coaches on the great highways which ran at two or three day 
intervals; but to reach any place on the main thoroughfare the missionary priest must procure a horse 
if possible, or he must trudge along on foot, carrying the heavy load of vestments and altar vessels 
with him. Those difficulties of travel would not permit frequent visits, and many places were blessed 
when they could see a priest once or twice a year. 

This work was too difficult and discouraging for Father Kelly, and after two years of trials and 
hardships, he left the diocese and went to Micliigan. The western part of the diocese was then with- 
out a priest until the Rev. Michael McNamara came to Rochester as the first resident priest. 

(1) John McManus, "A Perfect Woman Nobly Planned." 

(2) Bishop Conwell baptized a child of Patrick and Mary O'Rourke on this occasion. This was probably the first 
time that baptism was administered to a white Catholic in Buffalo. 



JN the spring of 1847 Buffalo and Albany were cut off from the diocese of New York and 
formed into new dioceses. On the 5th of September of the same year the Very Rev. 
John Timon, who was a visitor of the order commonly called Lazarist, received a letter 
from the bishop of St. Louis notifying him of his nomination to the See of Buffalo. 
Father Timon requested the bishop to keep the matter quiet until he would have time 
to decide whether he should accept or refuse the proffered honor. The news, however, of the nomina- 
tion had already become public property, and the bishop as well as his friends urged him to accept the 
honor. The action of Father Timon in regard to the acceptance of the bishopric manifests his deep 
sense of the grave responsibility of the post which was assigned hirp. He requested his friends among 
the clergy to give him the benefit of their wisdom and counsel, and asked each one to offer up a mass 
for their own enlightenment before giving their opinion in this case of such importance to him. Every 
one of his clerical friends urged liim to accept the responsibility of the mitre. Bishop Flaget, however, 
strove to induce him to refuse the mitre of Buffalo diocese, but it was only because he wished to secure 
him as his own coadjutor, and he told Father Timon that he had already forwarded his name to Rome 
as his choice for coadjutor. Father Timon, however, was destined for Buffalo. Rome needed a man 
of Father Timon's zeal and energy to establish a prosperous diocese in tliis deserted region. 

The Very Rev. John Timon was consecrated bishop of Buffalo in the Cathedral of New York on 
October 17th, 1847, by Bishop Hughes, assisted by Bishop McCloskey, of Albany and Bishop Walsh, 
of Halifax. Bishop Kenrick, of Philadelphia, preached an eloquent sermon on that occasion. The 
first official act of the new bishop was to appoint a vicar-general in the person of the Rev. Bernard 
O'Reilly, who was at that time pastor of St. Patrick's Church in Rochester, and the new bishop lost no 
time in proceeding to his new diocese. The day after his consecration, in company with Bishop Hughes 
Bishop McCloskey and Bishop Walsh, he started for Buffalo. The party reached Rochester at 2 
o'clock in the morning, and at an early hour Bishop Timon said mass in the convent of the Sisters of 
Charity. The party proceeded to Buffalo at 3 P. M., but they met with an accident which delayed 
their arrival until 9 o'clock in the evening. An immense crowd was awaiting the arrival of the new 
bishop, and about 12,000 people formed in line to escort him to St. Louis' Church on Main 
Street. Here the bishop addressed the congregation, gave benediction and took possession of his new 
See. The next day he appointed the Rev. Francis Guth vicar-general for the Germans of the diocese. 

On the first Sunday in his new diocese the bishop celebrated Pontifical High Mass in St. Louis' 
Church, and Bishop Hughes preached the sermon. At vespers in the afternoon, the Very Rev. Francis 
Guth preached in German and in French. The bishop appointed November 10th as a day on which a 
retreat should begin for the priests of his diocese, andhe also sent word to Rochester that a retreat would 
be given at St. Patrick's Church on the first Sunday of Advent for the people of that city. He sent 
notice to Father Bradley at St. Patrick's Church, Buffalo, that he would give a mission for the English 
speaking people of the city, which would begin on the third Sunday of Advent. He made arrangements 
with the pastor of St. Louis' Church to board with him at his residence adjoining the church, but this 
arrangement did not appear pleasing to the trustees, and the bishop in a few days changed his residence 
to Ellicott Street opposite St. Patrick's Church. The bishop conducted the retreat for the priests, 
which closed with a synod on the 18th of November. Soon after the retreat the bishop hastened to 
Rochester where he conducted a mission for the people. At this mission the bishop preached four 
times a day and spent many hours in the confessional as he had done on missions given by him whilst 
a Lazarist in the cities and towns of the South and West. 

On the feast of the Immaculate Conception he celebrated Pontifical High Mass at St. 
Mary's Church in Buffalo, and on this occasion he preached his first sermon in German 
and confirmed 173 persons. Two days later he started in company with Fathers McEvoy, 
McMullen and Smidt for Java. They reached Attica in the evening, and the bishop imme- 


diately proceeded to the school house where he preached to the few CathoHcs and Protestant 
who had assembled to listen to him. The next morning they continued their journey over very bad 
roads to the little church at Java, which was reached at 2 o'clock in the afternoon. The next morning 
the bishop celebrated Pontifical High Mass, preached and gave communion to ninety-three persons. 
Here he gave another short mission, preaching three times a day and spending nearly all the rest of 
the time in the confessional. On December 16th, in company with Fathers Schneider, McMuUen and 
Smidt, he rode in a very severe storm to Sheldon. At Sheldon there was a little church which was not 
completed, and there were no windows to protect the bishop or the congregation from the storm. Here 
the bishop confirmed sixty persons, heard confessions, and the next morning gave communion to 240. 
Nearly the entire community was formed of German Catholics, and the bishop urged them to establish 
a Catholic school under the direction of the pastor. 

When the bishop returned to Buffalo he established his ecclesiastical seminary, with two students 
and three professors. The students were young men who had been sent to him by some of his clerical 
friends, and the prof essors were the pastor of St. Louis', the pastor of St. Patrick's and the bishop him- 
self. The seminary building was Father Bradley's house on Ellicott Street in which the bishop 

The bishop began the mission for the people of St. Patrick's Church, Buffalo, on December 19th, 
and here he observed the same order of exercises which he had maintained at St. Patrick's Church in 
Rochester and at Java. He preached all the sermons, helped with confessions and confirmed 234 
persons at the end of the mission. On January 7th, he visited Williamsville. Here he found a fairly 
good church building, with but little land and the pastor's residence some distance from the church on 
the opposite side of the road. From Williamsville the bishop rode towards Lockport ; and the people 
had prepared the way for him by the erection of a rude triumphal arch and an escort of the entire 
population with the children dressed in white garments, notwithstanding the inclemency of the winter 
season. At Lockport the bishop celebrated mass and confirmed 149 persons. Here he gave another 
mission which lasted for a week, and at the end of this period he confirmed 170 persons, nearly all of 
them adults. Here he established a St. Vincent de Paul Society and a Rosary Society; the St. 
Vincent de Paul Society to look after the poor, and the Rosary Society to keep alive the piety of the 
faithful. He proceeded to Lancaster where he confirmed 73 persons and settled some difficulties which 
had arisen between the pastor and people. 

The bishop then made a long trip through nearly all of the towns and settlements of what is now 
the diocese of Rochester, inspecting the parishes, confirming, baptizing, preaching and giving missions 
of shorter or longer duration according to the necessities of the location. He found that very few 
churches had more than one set of vestments. None had the vestments or sacred vessels for benedic- 
tion, and several did not even have altars. Tables were arranged in these churches for altars, and in 
many places the bishop was obliged to get things in readiness for mass. On the 14th of February the 
bishop reached Scio. Here he found a little church without an altar, but an earnest and anxious 
congregation. He preached for three hours and confirmed forty-two persons. Father McEvoy 
accompanied the bishop on this trip, and it was no pleasure jaunt traveling over those rough roads in 
the winter season. Many times they were lost in the country, and at other times it was very late at 
night before they reached their destination. The bishop said mass at the Hornby House where he 
preached three times and confirmed forty-one persons. It was half past four o'clock in the afternoon 
before he broke his fast. 

The bishop visited New York, Philadelphia and Baltimore in search of students and sisters. Two 
more seminarians were enrolled amongst his students in March, 1848, and he gave all his spare time 
to teaching these the ceremonies and the most essential things needed for their ministry. 

The bishop was not sufficiently well versed in German to conduct a mission in this language, so 
he arranged with the Jesuits to give a mission at Williamsville, and with the Redemptorists to conduct 
one at Sheldon. He prepared to give another mission in Rochester the 3rd of April, 1848. At this 
mission he preached three times a day in English and once in French. At the end of the mission he con- 
firmed 183 persons. About 1,500 people received communion during this mission. Here he also 
established a conference of the St. Vincent de Paul Society and a society of the Holy Rosary. When 
he returned to Buffalo it was towards the end of Lent, and he found that it was necessary to prepare 
everything for the services of Holy Week. The ceremonies of Holy Week were something new and 
strange to both priests and people in Buffalo, and it was necessary for the bishop to prepare everything 
which was needed for the ritual of this season. 


In May the bishop conducted a mission at North Bush. A procession was formed to escort him 
to the little church, and the people abandoned their work to come to the church to listen to the 
words of instruction of their bishop. He visited Black Rock also, and urged the people here to estab- 
lish a little church and school. There was a considerable settlement at Eden, and the bishop paid them 
a visit, preached for them in German and confirmed 109 persons. When he returned to Buffalo he 
purchased a lot on Washington Street, on which he hoped some day to erect his cathedral. There was 
not land enough for the church at Williamsville, and the bishop journeyed to Lancaster to purchase 
some more ground for the necessary buildings for that congregation. From Lancaster he journeyed 
back to Buffalo on foot. The sisters had come to Buffalo on the 3rd of June and he immediately put 
them at work teaching a free school in St. Patrick's Church. He also bought the Protestant orphan 
asylum building, which he intended to convert into a hospital. On the 17th of June the bishop visited 
Lewiston and Youngstown. At Lewiston he confirmed twenty-four persons, and he preached for two 
hours in Mr. Kelley's home at Lewiston. He started a subscription for a little church there, and he 
found the people very liberal and very anxious to have a place in which the priest could hold services 
for them. He stopped at the Falls on his way home and preached in the Methodist Church. Here 
he secured $240.00 and a lot from Judge Porter for a Catholic congregation. 

In many of the little places visited by the bishop he was obliged to perform the duties of pastor as 
well as those of bishop. In many of the httle settlements there was no priest, and the bishop would 
instruct and baptize children and adults and some times journey many miles to visit the sick. He 
would also start subscriptions for the purchase of property, buy sites for churches and give plans for 
the buildings. In September he visited Ellicottville. Here he said mass in the school house and 
preached three times. From Ellicottville he went in company with an Indian lawyer to the Indian 
Reservation. He had a long interview and argument with the Indian chief about religion. The 
Indians seemed to be quite pleased with the interest the bishop took in their welfare, but, with the 
stoicism of their race, they gave no evidence of belief in the bishop's teachings. At Randolph the bishop 
prepared an altar in the Baptist Church, preached as usual and confirmed twelve persons, and as his 
labors here were finished it was 2 o'clock in the afternoon before he broke his fast. He visited James- 
town, but could not find any place there to hold service. At Mayville he preached in the court house. 
He did not find any Cathohcs at Westfield. On the road to Dunkirk he found a family with an Irish 
Catholic name, but they had all been attending the Methodist Church for seventeen years. They were 
pleased, however, to see the bishop, and promised that the whole family would come to mass at Fre- 
donia where all the children would receive baptism. The bishop said mass at the home of Mr. Mertz, 
Fredonia, and it was here that he received the lost family into the church. Judge Walworth helped the 
bishop to secure the Baptist Church, in which the bishop preached to a congregation composed princi- 
pally of Protestants. From Fredonia he started to Ellicottville in a wagon which, however, broke down 
before they had proceeded very far, and the bishop journeyed the rest of the road on horseback. From 
Ellicottville the bishop journeyed for more than seventy miles, through Olean to' Cuba where he said 
mass in the court house and confirmed seventeen persons. From there he went to Java, and to Akron 
where he again visited the Indians. Here the Indians practiced what they called natural or national 
religion. They said what the bishop told them was too complicated and too difficult. The bishop 
told them that their belief was like the bud, ours was the fruit; theirs was the dawn, ours was the day. 
The white man was superior to the Indian and white man's belief was more perfect than the Indian's 
belief. When the bishop reached Buffalo he began a retreat for his seminarians in preparation for the 
first ordination in his new diocese. 



She new bishop of Buffalo spent the first two years after his consecration in visiting all the 
little Catholic settlements and parishes of liis charge, and in becoming thoroughly ac- 
quainted with his new diocese. He found that all the churches were poor and very few of 
them had the vestments and sacred vessels necessary for divine service. There were very 
few priests in the diocese, and many of those could not be depended upon to remain 
permanently in the diocese of Buffalo. There was only one teaching body of religious, and teachers 
were needed for the many schools which were about to be organized. The bishop saw therefore 
that priests were necessary for the parishes, that teachers were necessary for the schools and other 
institutions, and that money was necessary for the churches. He resolved, therefore, to journey to 
the old world to provide for the pressing wants of his new diocese. He sailed from New 
York on the 14th of November, 1849. He reached Liverpool on the 28th day of the same 
month and hurried through England to Paris, where he obtained shelter at the head house 
of the Lazarist Order in France. His first work in Paris was to present a petition to the Society of the 
Propagation of the Faith, in which he explained the condition of his diocese and requested an appro- 
priation from the funds of the society for the work of building up the necessary institutions in his diocese. 
He did not wait idly for an answer from the Society of the Propagation of the Faith, but immediately 
sought out the most prominent personages of the city who would be apt to assist the poor missions of 

From time immemorial the nobles of France and the titled dames had generously aided the 
many missions in North America, and the Bishop of Buffalo knew that the descendants of those 
people would not turn a deaf ear to his plea for the missions in the newly erected diocese of Buffalo. 
He called upon the Duke and Duchess of Narbon, the Duchess of Balzac, the Countess of Montes- 
quoia, and all of these promised him assistance. 

Seeking aid from the wealthy nobles of France was only a little part of his labors. 
We wonder at the physical endurance of the bishop in his labors through his own diocese 
in earlier years of his episcopate. He traveled over the rough roads of his diocese at all 
hours of the day ornight by any conveyance and in all kinds of weather. Nothing seemed to deter 
him. He gave the same evidence of tireless energy and ceaseless labor in Europe. In Paris he offici- 
ated in the churches and preached to the congregations and to the pupils of the schools the same as he 
did in his own diocese. Every place of importance he visited in France. He said mass in the principal 
church. He visited the different institutions to learn their working nature, and preached or gave 
retreats whenever he was invited. As an instance of his ceaseless labor we may take the following 
excerpt from his journal written at Mount Pellier, in the South of France: He arrived there on the 
3rd of January, 1850, and the same day he visited the seminary and preached to the seminarians; on 
the following day he visited the convent of the Sacret Heart, gave benediction and preached. January 
5th he celebrated mass at the convent of the Ursulines and preached after mass. In the evening he 
visited the convent of the Visitation where he also preached. January 6th he celebrated Pontifical 
High Mass and preached. In the afternoon he sang Pontifical Vespers and afterwards attended a 
conference of St. Vincent de Paul. The same evening he preached a sermon to a large congregation. 
January 7th he celebrated mass at the Church of Notre Dame, and he afterwards preached to the 
congregation. At 5 o'clock in the afternoon he'preached to a large assembly, and at night he visited 
the seminary. Here he also gave an instruction for the students. This programme is not much 
different from that which was followed in every town of importance visited by Bishop Timon. 
During his trip to Europe he had three objects principally in view. There were no institutions in his 
new diocese, and he wished to learn all about the different institutions in the Catholic countries of Europe. 
He had no seminary and but few priests, and he wished to induce seminarians or priests to come from 
the seminaries of Europe to his new diocese in Buffalo. He needed money and vestments for his 


churches, and he hoped that the wealthy people of Europe would assist him and the many little parishes 
through his diocese. In every town, therefore, he visited the highest church official, the seminaries and 
different institutions. He preached to the students at every seminary and explained to them the con- 
ditions of the missions in his diocese and invited them to become members of the priesthood under 
his jurisdiction. Traveling in Europe for a long distance was not a luxury, the way in which Bishop 
Timon traveled. He would travel all night, reclining in a seat, and would be ready the next morning 
for his daily routine of preaching and visiting people and institutions. No person of prominence in 
France, Bavaria, Austria or Italy escaped the importunities of the Bishop of Buffalo. At Munich he 
obtained an interview with the king, and King Louis was so charmed with his earnestness and zeal 
that he gave him a fine painting and 10,000 florins. At Vienna he called upon the Papal Nuncio, and 
from him he received a letter of recommendation to the Leopoldine Society. This Society is similar 
in its scope to the Society of the Propagation of the Faith. He also appealed, on the advice of the 
Nuncio, to the Archduke Maximilian and to the Emperor Ferdinand. The Archduke of Vienna gave 
him 3,000 florins and the Primate of Hungary 100 goldens. With all his other labors he was induced 
to act as the correspondent for the New York Freeman's Journal during his trip through Europe. 

From Vienna the bishop hastened to Rome, and as soon as possible he had an interview with the 
Holy Father. Bishop Timon had already formed a design to erect a magnificent cathedral in his 
See City. He probably had not mentioned to anyone this dream of the beautiful cathedral until he 
revealed his project to the Holy Father. The Pope gave him the first donation for his cathedral, a 
gift of $2,000.00in gold. From Rome the Bishop hastened to Naples where he had an interview with 
the King, who gave him 1,500 francs for his diocese. The American ship "Independence" was lying 
at Naples and the bishop offered his services to the Catholic sailors on board, and he obtained for 
them the privilege of eating meat on fast days. 

i From Italy the bishop hastened back to Paris, and here he received the joyful tidings that the 
Society of the Propagation of the Faith had voted him nearly $4,000.00 for his diocese. From Paris 
he proceeded to Brussels where he met the Duchess Darenberg, the Princess Aldobrandini, Count 
Liderkerke and the celebrated Prince Metternich. Prince Metternich was charmed with the simple 
character of Bishop Timon. He invited him to dine with him and gave him a generous donation for 
his diocese. The bishop returned again to Paris to prepare the many articles he had received for 
shipment to his diocese. He was fatigued with his labors, yet he retired at 12 o'clock and arose at 
3 o'clock to recite his office, say mass, and prepare the goods he had received or bought, for shipment 
to America. He hastened to London where he met Lord and Lady Arndale, Lady Stafford and 
many other prominent people who were very generous towards him and aided him in his mission. He 
made a flying trip to Dublin and Castle Knock. At Dublin he inspected an institution for the deaf 
and dumb, which, it seems, he himself had urged them to establish years before. 

His work was finished in Europe. He had collected about $8,000.00, had obtained many vest- 
ments and sacred vessels for his poor churches, and had received students for his diocese. He was 
well pleased when he could lay down the burden of his labors and seek on the steamer the rest which 
he so much needed. His wearied limbs were lulled to rest by the rolling billows and his racked nerves 
were soothed by the ocean's gentle breezes. He sailed on the 6th of July for home. 



|E now approach a matter which we must treat with great delicacy so as not to give offense 
to the Hving or do injustice to the dead. We would gladly omit the whole affair; but it 
played such an important role in the early history of the Church in Buffalo, and it exerted 
such an influence upon other important acts, and its effects are still so evident in the 
propinquity of parishes, that this could not be done without wilful perversion of truth 
and without grave injustice to bishop and people. Readers who have followed the narrative of the 
trials of the Church in the early days in New York will readily recall the annoyances to the bishop, and 
even scandals to the public, caused at times by the insubordinate acts of trustees. These seemed to 
arise naturally from the formative period of the Church in America, much as the measles or whooping- 
cough is peculiar to childhood. St. Louis' congregation in Buffalo was afflicted with a very virulent 
attack of the disease. Immediately after the congregation was organized some of the men thought 
that they should have control of the financial affairs of the parish. The finances of the parish were 
a very small item then. The management, however, of the financial affairs of a congregation was 
something novel to the minds of many in St. Louis' parish, and their palms itched for the handling 
of the money. Father Mertz brought from abroad about all the money that was expended on their 
first little rude chapel. The people were too poor to contribute. The ordinary Sunday collection 
amounted to about fifteen cents, (1) and the pastor feasted at supper time on potatoes roasted in the 
hot ashes of hisfireplace and a cup of tea (2). Very Httle money was used in the construction of the 
first St. Louis' Church, and nearly all of this came from the pastor. It seemed incomprehensible, then, 
that men should complain about the financial management when there were practically no finances 
to manage. Yet when Bishop Dubois made his second visit to Buffalo in 1833, a committee of mem- 
bers waited upon him and requested that they be given the management of the financial affairs of the 
parish. Father Raffeiner was with the bishop on this occasion, and he asked each member of the 
delegation the amount of his financial interests in the church, how much each one had contributed, 
and every one admitted in confusion that he had contributed nothing. This put an end, for the time, 
to their lofty aspirations. 

Trustees had almost absolute control of the affairs in the churches of New York before the advent 
of Bishop Hughes. In several cases parishes were organized and churches were built before there was 
either priest or bishop to guide the affairs of the congregations. Men were selected by these congrega- 
tions to look after their financial affairs, and they often invited priests to come to minister to them, 
offering, at the same time, to give them a stated compensation for their services. This practice which 
arose naturally from the condition of the churches in the formative period, soon grew in force and became 
an established system. Men who had the control of the finances of these little parishes gradually 
usurped the authority which should belong to priests or to the bishop. They claimed the right to 
control the finances of the parish and the appointment or dismissal of every person connected with the 
church. It was no uncommon occurrence for them to invite a priest to serve their congregation, or to 
tell him that his services were no longer needed if they were displeased with him. Such a system could 
not but work evil in the Church, because a priest must necessarily receive hig commission and his juris- 
diction from the bishop and not from the laymen; but under this system a priest might be at the head 
of the parish who had no faculty from the bishop. A case of this kind actually occurred at St. Peter's 
Church, in New York City. The trustees were paying a salary to a priest who was suspended, whilst, 
at the same time, they would not allow a legitimate pastor to officiate in their church. 

The lay trustees who had charge of the city parishes were anxious to have an eloquent pastor who 
could draw crowds to their church, and in this way increase their collections, and they insisted on the 
appointment of such priests by the bishop. On one occasion the trustees of a New York City parish 

(1 ) St.. Louis Bazaar Chronicle. 

(2) Ibid. 


waited upon Bishop Dubois, and informed Mm that, as they were selected by the parish to look after 
the interests of their church, they could not conscientiously vote the bishop's salary unless he gave 
them the clergyman they desired. Much as Bishop Connolly and Bishop Dubois regretted this condi- 
tion of affairs they could not eradicate the evil. They did not have priests, and they were only too 
willing to avail themselves of the advantages which the people sometimes possessed of inviting some 
of their clerical friends in Europe to come and minister to them. 

Shortly after Bishop Hughes was appointed coadjutor of New York he resolved to end this evil 
of the domination of lay trustees. He had appointed a teacher for the Sunday school in the cathedral, 
and the trustees ordered the teacher from the church, and when the teacher would not leave the , 
trustees sent a constable to remove him. Shortly afterwards Bishop Hughes delivered an address 
on the subject in St. Patrick's Cathedral, in which he explained the evils of this system, the abuses 
to which it gave rise, and his determination to correct them. A meeting was held in the school room 
in the afternoon of the Sunday in which this pastoral was issued, and the trustees and people decided 
to abide by the decision of the bishop. The evil, however, had extended throughout the diocese, 
and the bishop resolved to free his diocese from the system. In August, 1841, Bishop Hughes 
convoked the first synod of the diocese. At the conclusion of the synod a pastoral letter was published 
and sent to all the priests of the diocese to be read to their congregations. In this pastoral letter 
Bishop Hughes mentioned the evils which had arisen from the trustee system, and gave explicit 
directions for the guidance of all trustees and all parishes under his jurisdiction. 

The directions were in substance as follows: 

"That thenceforward no body of lay trustees should appoint, retain or dismiss any person con- 
nected with the church, such as sexton, organist, singers, teachers, &c., against the will of the pastor; 
that the money necessary for the maintenance of the pastors and the support of religion, should in no 
case be withheld, if the congregation were able to afford them; that no board of trustees or other lay 
persons should use the church, chapel, basement, or other portion of grounds or edifices consecrated 
to religion, for any meeting having a secular or even an ecclesiastical object, without the approval of 
the pastor; that no board of trustees should vote, or expend, or appropriate for contracts any portion 
of the property they were appointed to administer, (except the ordinary current expenses), without 
the approval of the pastor; nor, in case the sums to be thus expended should exceed one hundred 
dollars in any one year, without the approval of the bishop also. The clergy were required to keep 
an inventory of church property, and to exhibit annually to the bishop a synopsis of the financial con- 
dition of the church. For this purpose they were to have access whenever necessary to the books of 
the treasurer and the minutes of all ofiBcial proceedings of the board of trustees. Should any board 
of trustees refuse to comply with these statutes, the bishop declared that he 'should adopt such meas- 
ures as the circumstances of the case might require,' but in no event should he 'tolerate the presence 
of a clergyman in any church or congregation in which such refusal should be persevered in.' " 

These statutes were published in a pastoral letter, dated September 8th, 1841, and were hailed 
with joy by all true Catholics at large; nay, the trustees of several churches offered to surrender their 
trust into the bishop's hands, if he wished them to do so, a proposition which he declined; but the 
secular press assailed the bishop severely, and waxed warm with indignation at what they deemed a 
violation of the rights of the Catholic laity, who themselves were unconscious of their injuries, and by 
no means grateful to their self-chosen champions, the secular press (l). 

All the boards of trustees in the diocese acquiesced, except that of St. Louis' Church, in Buffalo. 

On page 219 of the "Missions of Western New York," we read: 

"In Buffalo, the very small number who, perhaps unconsciously, tried to sow discord in St. Louis' 
Church, had been frustrated in their first attempt. Yet they only awaited a more favorable time; and 
in the year 1838, some of Ihem having gone through the legal forms, incorporated under the above 
named general law of 1784, which Protestants rejected. The bishop was grieved, for in sending the 
Rev. Mr. Pax, he said : 'The usurpations of the trustees are not to be feared, for the ground belongs 
to me.' The residuary heir of the donor, P. A. Lecouteulx, Esq., a man of great honor and probity, 
also declares that his father never wished such an incorporation. This was an event productive of 
evil to the pious members of the congregation, of annoyance and grief to ecclesiastical superiors; and, 
until lately, of almost incessant discord and embarrassments to the church. The Rev. J. N. Mertz, 

(1) These extracts were taken from Mr. Charles G. Deuther's Life and Times of Bishop Timon. Documents 
are from the original. 

Very Rev. Dean JNO. J. HAMEL, Y. F., Clean. 





North Olean. 

Rev. henry A. DOLAN, 






Rev. RICHARD O'BRIEN, Wellsville. 




RECTORY AND HALL, Iinniaculate Conception Church, 

HIGH ALTAR, Churcli f>f the Immaculate Conception, 

(The late) Key. JOHN BYRON. 

Rev. WM. T. WILBUR, 



Very Rev. Dean L. A. V.\NDEPOOL, Rector. 

Silver Springs. 










(The late) Rev. J. M. CASTALDI. 



East Aurora. 




i|jMBi 3 Jju 






— ^*^s^ 


East Aurora. 

Java Center. 

Java Center. 

Java Center. 


East Arcade, 
Rev. Jos. P. Garen, Rector. 

East Arcade. 


their pastor, left that church and removed to Eden. The Rev. Alex. Pax, by the wish of the Right 
Rev. Bishop Dubois, undertook pastoral charge. This worthy clergyman, finding the church too small, 
and being assured by the bishop that, as the ground belonged to him, no annoyance was to be dreaded 
from trustees, began to build the present spacious edifice, with the hearty cooperation of the people." 

One Sunday, in the year 1843, Father Pax read from the pulpit of St. Louis' Church the pastoral 
letter of Bishop Hughes. An eye-witness says that, "in reading the pastoral letter. Father Pax did so 
without much comment, taking it for granted that the people already knew their duly full well, relying 
upon their well-known piety and Catholic faith to accept it." But the unfortunate circumstance 
already alluded to occurred just at this time. Father Pax concluded his remarks by saying, that the 
sum and substance oi the pastoral letter was "that the bishop desired to obtain the Verwaltung (1) of 
the church," meaning that the discharge of the temporal affairs of the church, and the discipline that 
should govern it, would be under the surveillance and co-operation of the pastor with the congregation, 
through its trustees. As to the fears awakened among the people of St. Louis' Church, that the bishop 
aimed at depriving them of their church property, these were entirely unfounded, both in act and in 
the spirit of the pastoral letter; since, so far as the title and right to the property were concerned, it 
is necessary merely to inform the reader that a copy of the deed of St. Louis' Church property, given 
by Louis Stephen Lecouteulx de Chamont, Esq., to Bishop Dubois and his successors, is recorded 
in the county clerk's office, and can be seen there at any time. 

In the year 1838 the trustees of St. Louis' congregation obtained a charter of incorporation from 
the Legislature. They were incorporated under the law of 1784, which was reenacted in 1813 with a 
slight addition. This form of incorporation was entirely unsuited to Catholic congregations. It was 
never intended for Catholic churches. Very few of the Protestant denominations would accept it. 
The trustees of St. Louis Church claimed that the regulations of the diocese and their charter of incor- 
poration were irreconcilable, according to the explanation of the pastoral letter given by Father Pax. 

St. Louis' Church property was deeded by Louis Le Couteulx to Bishop Dubois and his successors 
in office, for the sole and only use and purpose of a Catholic church and cemetery. The trustees, there- 
fore, had no title to the land; and Bishop Hughes in his pastoral had merely issued directions for the 
guidance of the trustees in their management of the affairs of the parishes, so that there would be 
uniformity and harmony throughout the diocese. He did not take, nor did he desire to take, any 
property from any parish. He merely desired to prevent the evils which had existed under the trustee 
system from the beginning of the Church in the State of New York. The trustees, however, and the 
people of St. Louis' congregation did not understand the meaning of the pastoral. 

Mr. Deuther further says on this subject: 

But had Father Pax expressly stated that Bishop Hughes, in obedience to the statutes of the 
diocese, desired merely to communicate the information that the discipline and custom of the congre- 
gation of St. Louis' church, which thus far governed them under their beloved pastor, with regard to 
the discharge of the temporal affairs of the church, had been enacted in the form of diocesan laws, 
and that no innovation of their rights, which they so much feared, was at all contemplated, perhaps, 
in the providence of God, the scandal of a congregation refusing to obey its bishop might have been 
spared from the pages of this work. 

Still, though we cannot depart from truth and justice in the relation of these unpleasant facts, 
there is one circumstance in extenuation of the conduct of a great many of the people of St. Louis' 
Church, which may perhaps serve to soften the rigor of opinion that the reader may entertain in peru- 
sing this history. The people of St. Louis' Church, considered collectively, and composed of French 
and Germans, were a class of people simple-minded in their views, honestly disposed to do what was 
right with regard to every obligation in life, religious or secular, but at the same time not endowed 
with that educated intelligence and knowledge of Church custom and discipline, which from time 
immemorial has governed the Church of Christ. 

It is true, they loved their religion. They were frequent and pious partakers of the sacrament. 
They supported their pastor generously, and contributed, according to their means, freely, for beauti- 
fying and improving their church. Nay, their liberality in this regard is, even to this day, their dis- 
tinguished characteristic. With reference to the temporal affairs of the church, they enjoy the exercise 
of an opinion and a voice through their trustees. As has been already stated, nothing was done without 
first agreeing and consulting with Father Pax; apparently everything seemed peaceful, all was quiet. 

(1) Administration. 


But suddenly, as if a bombshell had been thrown in their midst, their serenity was disturbed, and 
the expression, Verwaltung, not sufficiently explained by Father Pax, suggested ideas to their simple 
minds that seemed dangerous to them as a congregation, and threatened a serious inroad upon rights 
and titles to which they had no legal claim, and which, fostered and encouraged by designing irreligious 
men among them, and in whom they unwisely placed too much credence and trust, led them into the 
unfortunate belief that they were to be deprived of their church and their property. Resolve the 
matter in their minds as they might, "it seemed," says an eye-witness, "as if they were so intoxicated 
with this idea, that no argument, however potent, no assurance, however sincerely given or endorsed, 
could dislodge it. And this idea remains in the heads of many of the congregation even to the present 

This fear of being deprived of their title and right to their church property, (a title which we have 
said was fabulous), was fostered by the board of trustees and one man, through whose persistent spirit 
and course of opposition against lawful church authority the trouble assumed greater and more gigantic 
proportions than perhaps it otherwise might have done, until it finally burst into open rebellion. We 
have said that to the trustees was mainly due the vehemence of the trouble, and it is consistent to say 
further that their spirit of opposition derived its origin from the restrictions placed upon their conduct 
and government of the temporal afiFairs of the church, by the discipline and requirements of canon 
law, then for the first time promulgated as diocesan laws. They desired to be rid of this incumbrance 
upon their actions, and to be considered as sine qua non in their official capacity. They even pre- 
sumptuously declared their conduct to express the will of a majority of the congregation. We insert 
the following from the files of the Buffalo Daily Gazette, Thursday, A. M., October I9th, 1843: 

"St. Louis Church, Buffalo. — An election of trustees for this church was held on Sunday last. 

Mr. and Mr. were elected. These gentlemen are understood to be decidedly in favor of 

the course adopted by the former board of tnistees, in retaining in their own hands the management 
of the temporal affairs of their own church. 

"A candidate of opposite opinion was run, who received four votes against two hundred and ninety- 
two, the lowest on the ticket. A hundred more votes were polled than ever before, notwithstanding 
the weather was very boisterous. 

"This decisive action on the part of the congregation of St. Louis should admonish the clergy, 
that the unusual measures to which they have resorted for the purpose of constraining the trustees 
into an acquiescence in their recent pretensions, may produce consequences the very opposite of those 
that they were intended to effect. The line dividing temporal from spiritual power is, we are glad to 
see, clearly distinguished by the congregation ; and in the firm position they have taken in defending 
it, they have shown that they merit the privileges of American citizens, because they understand one 
of the first principles of American liberty." 

There were some turbulent spirits in St. Louis' congregation who were not disposed to respect 
the authority of priest or bishop. Father Pax did not find his residence amongst them entirely pleasant, 
nor were his labors and sacrifices altogether appreciated. He desired to retire from St. Louis' congre- 
gation as soon as a successor could be appointed; but, now that the trustees were disposed to create a 
disturbance over Bishop Hughes' pastoral letter, he resolved to retire whether his successor was ap- 
pointed or not. Mr. Deuther gives the following account of the meeting called by the trustees to 
discuss Bishop Hughes' pastoral: 

A meeting of the congregation was called by some of the trustees of St. Louis' Church, prominent 
among whom was W. B. Lecouteulx, son of Louis Lecouteulx, the donor of the property to the church. 
This gentleman was chairman of the meeting, and in common with a few others, had drawn up a 
lengthy set of resolutions in the English language, in which a decided opposition was expressed against 
what was styled the "usurpations" of Bishop Hughes. In these resolutions was set forth a determina- 
tion to resist all the requirements of the pastoral letter, promulgated purely for Church discipline, but 
erroneously interpreted through the press, and otherwise, to threaten their rights and title to the 

"These resolutions," relates a gentleman who was present at the meeting, "were subscribed to 
and signed by a committee of forty names, o/ whom six, at the utmost, understood, and, with the excep- 
tion of one, NONE COULD READ ENGLISH, the language in which they were drawn up." Comment is 
unnecessary. In the meantime the impression made upon the minds of the people of St. Louis' congre- 
gation to the effect that their interests and rights were threatened, took deep root, and accordingly they 
were influenced to support their trustees "resolved" to oppose the imagined inroad upon their rights. 


Many ineffectual efforts were made to induce the trustees to submit to the discipline of the Church, 
until finally the persistent spirit of rebellion, particularly upon the part of the trustees, obliged Bishop 
Hughes to interpose his authority to save the Church laws, by interdicting St. Louis' Church. 

The trustees had "respectfully declined" to submit to the proposed change, and "most sincerely 
regretted not to be able to comply with the bishop's request." 

Bishop Hughes, in reply, said: "I read your letter with surprise. My pastoral letter was an 
intimation of an ecclesiastical law which is to be general throughout the diocese. It is not yet in force; 
but, when it will be, I trust it will be of the greatest advantage to the peace of the congregation. * * * 
Should it prove otherwise, however, in your judgment, you will have it in your power to resist its execu- 
tion ; and when you do, it will be time enough for me to ascertain that your church shall not be gov- 
erned by the general law of the diocese, then we shall claim the privilege of retiring from its walls in 
peace, and leave you to govern it as you will. Indeed, we must keep peace, peace at all events, and 
charity also." 

The opposition of the trustees of St. Louis' Church to the regulations of the bishop of the diocese 
gained much notoriety in the secular press. At that time a Know-nothing spirit was rankling through- 
out the country, and the enemies of the Church encouraged the trustees of St. Louis' Church in their 
opposition to church law. After many efforts to enlighten the trustees Bishop Hughes found it neces- 
sary to interdict the Church of St. Louis. W. B. Le Couteulx, the son of the donor of St. Louis' 
Church property, was very bitter in his opposition to Bishop Hughes, and he claimed that if Bishop 
Hughes' regulations were enforced the property would revert to his father's heirs. He also indus- 
triously circulated the false statement that Bishop Hughes desired the trustees to convey St. Louis' 
Church property to him. 

Shortly after the publication of the interdict some of the most respectable people of St. Louis' 
congregation sent a petition to Bishop Hughes, requesting him to release their church from the interdict 
and to give an authentic explanation of his pastoral letter. The petition was sent in the name of Mr. 
Geo. A. Deuther, and Bishop Hughes sent the following reply to their request : 

" ' New York, April 5, 1843. 
" ' Me. George A. Deuther, 

"'Dear Sir: I have received your petition and letter yesterday, and lose no time in forwarding 
my reply. Of course, I always knew, that there were a great many true and faithful Catholics in the 
congregation of St. Louis, in Buffalo. Indeed, on my visitation of the diocese, that congregation was, 
by its piety, my joy and my consolation. It was my pride and my boast on my return to New 

"'But when a congregation, through its officers, allows its pastors to be thwarted in doing good, 
to be harassed, and be made miserable, then I cannot expect that any priest will stay with them. 
The trustees of a congregation are only its servants, and when these servants undertake to reject ecclesi- 
astical laws of the diocese, and to make laws themselves, as if they were bishops in God's Church, 
then it is time for those who are bishops and priests to withdraw in peace, and leave them also in peace, 
to govern those who are satisfied to be governed by them. They say the congregation supported them 
in their proceedings; if this be so, which I cannot believe, unless they deceived the congregation by 
false statements, then so be it. 

" ' Much as I feel for the good, pious people, I cannot allow any priest to officiate in the church of 
St. Louis, until I am assured that the congregation, in its trustees as well as in its members, are Catho- 
lics, true Catholics, in their soul, as well as by their outward profession. If they choose to have it 
otherwise, I shall not quarrel with them. But, in the meantime, I have no priest to send them; and 
if I had, I should not expose him in such a situation. Our priests are for Catholic congregations, and 
no other. Now there are many other good German congregations without a pastor, and until I have 
German priests enough for them all, it will be my duty to provide for those congregations who make 
it their pride to be governed by their pastors, instead of attempting to govern them. 

'"When I had written thus far, one of our city papers was brought to me containing an article 
from the Buffalo Gazette, which is false in almost every particular, and which I have answered here. 
I hope the editor of the Buffalo Gazette will publish my answer, in order that the good and pious people 
of the congregation, may see how much they have been imposed upon by means of falsehood. 

" ' The people must oblige their trustees to do right, or else they must be prepared to suffer for what 
their trustees do, in their name, wrongfully. I shall have no dispute with any congregation, but 


whenever a congregation allows its trustees to behave so badly that the pastor must leave, I will allow 
them no other. 

"'With the same kind feeling towards all, as your true friend and father in Christ, I remain, 

" ' + JOHN, Bishop New York.' 

Bishop Hughes found it necessary to correct the false statements made by the trustees through 
the public press, and he sent the following letter to the Buffalo Commercial- Advertiser: 

"'Messrs. Editors: In your Commercial of Monday you published from the Buffalo Gazette an 
article purporting to be a statement of the difference between the congregation of St. Louis' Church and 
myself. It stated that I claimed to have "the property of the chui-ch vested in my hands, and that 
the claim was resisted by the congregation." This is entirely untrue. I never advanced such a claim, 
and of course it could not be refused. It is stated that in consequence of this refusal I "called away 
the Rev. Alexander Pax and left the congregation destitute." This is equally untrue. On the con- 
trary, nothing but my persuasion was able to prevail on him to stay for the last eighteen months or 
two years, under the ill treatment of a few worthless men who call themselves the congregation. It 
is stated that the congregation of St. Patrick's, in Buffalo, have "complied with my requisition." This 
again is untrue. The trustees and congregation of St. Patrick's will bear me witness that I never 
made any such requisition. I advised them, as a means of putting an end to quarrels among them- 
selves, to dispense with trustees, and to avoid the rock on which St. Louis is now splitting. These 
are the principal statements; and the honorable confidence of the editor of the Buffalo Gazette has 
been sadly abused by those who have employed his authority for statements which they knew to be 
unfounded in truth. He should demand proof of them, and if they cannot furnish it, to which I chal- 
lenge them, he should publish their names, and vindicate his own. He has been deceived. I attach 
no blame to him. If his deceivers can furnish no proof that I ever made such a demand, I can furnish 
proof, in their own writing, that I never did. 

" " ' It is surmised," says the statement, "that the bishop has gone so far as to forbid any priest from 
performing Divine service in St. Louis' Church until its congregation shall fully comply with his de- 
mands." I forbade only one clergyman, whose inexperience might have been taken advantage of by 
the same artifice which trifled so foully with the good faith of the editor of the Gazette. And secondly, 
what are called my "demands," in the statement, never had any existence in reality. 

"'Surely the editors of the Buffalo Gazette will feel a glow of virtuous indignation when they 
discover how much they have been imposed on. 

" ' The only difference between the congregation of St. Louis and myself is, that its trustees have 
thought proper not to be governed by the ecclesiastical discipline of the diocese, and expect me to 
supply them with priests who shall be governed by a different discipline, of which they shall be the 
authors. The congregation of that church are pious and exemplary Catholics, to whom their holy 
faith is dearer than life. Even this may be said of a large number of the trustees. 

But it sometimes happens that our trustees may be honest and upright in their intentions, and 
yet men of simple understanding, and without education. In such cases, only let an enlightened, 
talented, intriguing and irreligious mind get among them, and then, whatever he concocts in his infidel 
mind, he induces them, under specious pretences, to adopt; and then he gives out the depraved pur- 
poses of his own heart as the act of the board, and this again as the act of the congregation ! From 
the moment this arrives, woe to the flock, and woe to the pastor, who are at once divided from each 
other, and yet kept together by such a link of iniquity. 

" ' The pious and amiable Mr. Pax was not called away by me, but I left him at liberty to leave 
whenever he felt that he could stand it no longer. It appears to me that the time has arrived. I have 
no German pastor to send in his place. But if I had, it would be with instructions to rent a barn, get 
up an altar in it, and adimnister the sacraments of religion with that freedom from restraint and guid- 
ance of unauthorized laymen with which God made the ministers of His Church free, but which is not 
to be enjoyed, it appears, in the church of St. Louis. 

The neighboring clergymen could not officiate in it without neglecting their own congregations, 
which have the first claim on their ministry. Besides, I deem it my duty now to forbid all clergymen 
of this diocese to officiate in that church, until it shall be determined whether it is to be governed by 
the ecclesiastical regulations of the diocese, or by "the resolves" of its trustees. I trust, Messrs. Editors, 
that you will publish the above in your valuable paper, as an act of reparation which I may claim on 


the score of justice. I ask an insertion in the Buffalo Gazette, which, I am sure, the editor will not 
refuse. I appeal to the honor of such other editors as may have copied the false and injurious state- 
ment first published in the Buffalo Gazette, for a similar favor. 

"' + JOHN HUGHES, BisJwp of New York. 

The English-speaking Catholics of the city had at this time a church of their own on the corner 
of Ellicott and Batavia streets. Many of the pious people of St. Louis' congregation, when their own 
church was interdicted, attended the services at St. Patrick's Church. Old St. Patrick's Church was 
practically a two-story building, and when the large number of Germans came to mass there on Sun- 
days Bishop Hughes made arrangements to have special mass said for them on the first floor of the 
church. Here the little congregation gradually grew, and the bishop organized another congregation 
of Germans under the care of the Redemptorists. When the trustees of St. Louis' Church saw their 
followers gradually withdrawing from their own church and becoming members of the new St. Mary's 
congregation, they became alarmed and published in the Commercial-Advertiser of August 10th, 1844, 
an apology to Bishop Hughes and to the public for the scandal they had given in opposition to their 
bishop. The apology was as follows: 

"'A Card. — We, the undersigned, trustees of the church of St. Louis, Buffalo, having had the 
honor of an interview with the Rt. Rev. Dr. Hughes, bishop of New York, in relation to the difficulties 
which have existed between the congregation and the bishop for some time past, and having received 
from him a true explanation of certain parts of the pastoral letter, and finding thereby that we have 
been laboring hitherto under a misunderstanding of the same, hereby express our willingness that the 
church and congregation of St. Louis be regulated according to the provisions of the said pastoral 
letter, and the true explanation received from the Rt. Rev. author; and we promise, in our own name, 
and (so far as we can) in the name of our successors, that the administration of temporal affairs of 
our church and congregation shall be conducted conformably to the same. 

We further take occasion to say, that if our course in this matter has given any scandal or offence 
to our Catholic brethren, we regret it; adding, merely, that our action proceeded from mistaken im- 
pressions, and that we should be the last to oppose the authority of our religion, either intentionally 
or deliberately. 

'"T. DINGENS, President Board Trustees, 







Bishop Hughes came to Buffalo the Sunday following the apology. He preached a sermon in 
St. Louis' Church, released the church from the interdict and gave his blessing to the congregation. 
This was the end of the first serious trouble between the trustees of St. Louis' congregation and the 
officials of the diocese of New York. 



|HEN Bishop Timon came to Buffalo he proceeded to St. Louis' Church, accompanied 
by many thousands of Catholics, and here he formally took possession of his diocese. 
He made arrangements the next day with the Rev. Francis Guth, pastor of St. Louis' 
Church, to board with him until he obtained a residence of his own. The trustees of 
St. Louis' Church were not pleased with this arrangement, and a few days later they 
notified the bishop that his presence there was not desired. 

St. Louis' Church property was donated by a Frenchman for the use of the Catholics of Buffalo, 
without distinction of nationality. The Germans were most numerous in the congregation, and they 
gradually obtained the ascendency and control of the affairs of the congregation. The English-speak- 
ing Catholics realized some ten years before the advent of Bishop Timon that there was no longer room 
for them in St. Louis' Church, and they understood also that they were not wanted there. Now that 
there was an English-speaking bishop residing in the pastoral residence of St. Louis' congregation, the 
German trustees feared that the eviction they had practised on the Irish might be repeated on them- 
selves. All through their subsequent difficulties with the bishop this element of fear for the loss of 
their property played an important part. 

Bishop Hughes had promulgated a law for all the congregations of the diocese of New York in, 
1843, that no parish or board of trustees should expend $100.00 in any improvements or work without 
permission from the bishop. The trustees of St. Louis' Church asked permission from Bishop Timon 
to enlarge their church, in the fall of 1848. The Bishop refused to grant their request, because St. 
Louis' Church was then the largest in the United States, and he told them that the contemplated 
improvements would disfigure their building. He showed them how they could expend the same 
amount of money to better advantage. The bishop was absent from Buffalo for a long period after 
this interview with the trustees of St. Louis'Church, visiting many little Catholic settlements throughout 
his extensive jurisdiction. What happened on his return is related by Mr. Deuther in his life of the bishop. 

"On the l9th February, the bishop returned to Buffalo from his visit of more than a month through 
parts of the diocese. On the way to his lodgings, he met W. B. Lecouteulx, Esq., in the street, who 
immediately accosted him thus: 'I am glad to see you. I rejoice to be able to tell you that we have 
begun our addition to St. Louis' Church, and that the work is already far advanced. I am now engaged 
about another important business for the good of the church. Here is a petition I am going to present 
to the Common Council, to request them to deed to St. Louis' Church the grave yard that was given for 
it. I have searched all the records, and I find that the deed was never made out, so that it might be 
taken from us. I went to your house to show you the petition before it should be presented, but you 
were not home.' The bishop smiled, as he knew that his absence on the visit was well known in the 
city. He read the petition, and then told Mr. Lecouteulx that the petition contained things most 
untrue and most offensive to the congregations of St. Mary's and of St. Patrick's. That, to his inti- 
mate knowledge, the faithful of both churches had been orderly and quiet at their burials; that the 
grave yard was given for all the Catholics in the city, and further, that he, the bishop, held the deed, 
duly executed and duly recorded. The bishop invited the gentleman to come to his house and see 
the instrument, which he did, noted the page of records and dropped the matter. 

"The bishop then went to the trustees, expostulated with them for having, after his express pro- 
hibition, begun the walls, which were already two or three feet out of ground; he required them to 
demolish the work, and, if they wished to build, to build according to any plan they might prefer, 
but for the objects he had sanctioned, not for the enlargement of a church already very large. "He 
then spoke to the Very Rev. Mr. Guth, to whom the trustees had referred him as having sanctioned 
the work. Mr. Guth expressed himself much grieved and very sad, acknowledging that he had sanc- 
tioned the work; but declared that, if now demolished, he could never hold up his head again, and 
would have to withdraw to hide his shame. The trustees came, they begged pardon, but, as so much 


was done, they entreated that they might be permitted to finish the part begun. The bishop, deeply 
touched at the grief of Mr. Guth, whom he greatly respected, hesitated. At length he said that he 
could not approve, but he would overlook, and not notice the act, provided no more was attempted 
than the part already begun. The promise was given, but not kept." 

This was the beginning of the trouble between the trustees of St. Louis' Church and Bishop 
Timon. The bishop brought Sisters of Charity to Buffalo and desired to place some of them over 
the parochial school of St. Louis' parish, but the trustees would not accept them. The trustees also 
gave instructions to the grave-digger, who was employed by them, to refuse to receive any orders from 
the bishop. During the bishop's absence in Europe Father Guth found his position as pastor of St. 
Louis' Church so uncomfortable that he took the French portion of the congregation vdth him and 
founded the new congregation of St. Peter's. Upon Bishop Timon's return from Europe an efi'ort 
for a reconciliation was made by the trustees, and they sent to the bishop the following document: 

" ' To THE Rt. Rev. John Timon, BisJiop of Buffalo: 

" ' The undersigned, trustees of the Roman Catholic church of St. Louis, in the City of Buffalo, 
regret that misunderstanding has arisen between them and their bishop, regarding the rights and 
duties that devolve on them under the laws of the State, in the administration of the affairs of the said 
St. Louis' Church. 

" ' Wlaatever may have been the character or extent of our past differences, we regret them, and 
pray the bishop to forget them. We propose to the bishop that he and his successors in office, and 
we, abide and be governed by the following rules and regulations : 

" ' On our part we acknowledged that, according to the laws of the State, the titles of the tem- 
poralities of the church are vested in the bishop and his successors in office, in trust for the sole use 
and only purposes of the congregation. That the bishop, for the time being, according to the spiritual 
and Divine laws, is guardian of the church and its property. We bind ourselves to do nothing having 
reference to spiritual matters without the permission and consent of the bishop, and truly and faithfully 
to observe and fulfill his command in that regard. We propose to administer the temporal affairs of 
the church under the counsel and advice of the bishop, as becomes the children of God and of the 
bishop. We acknowledge that the bishop and pastor appointed by him for the time being are accountable 
to God as guardians of their flocks, and as such we acknowledge that they have the right to superintend 
the schools attached to the church, and we pledge our best exertions in aid of the clergy for the success 
of the school and the education of the youth. The trustees shall, under the direction of the bishop, 
select the teacher or teachers of the school, and no teacher shall be appointed without the sanction of 
the bishop or pastor. We consent and agree that the rector appointed by the bishop for the time 
being, shall preside over the deliberations of the trustees, and have his vote. The undersigned trustees 
shall not and will not expend over one hundred dollars at any one time on any improvements, repairs, 
or building, or in any manner, without the knowledge and consent of the bishop, and we ask and 
desire that the bishop and the rector for the time being, will use their power, advice, and influence 
to prevent the election hereafter of any person as trustee who may be known as a person of immoral 
character or who fails to perform his duty as a Christian, and we pledge ourselves never to wish for 
or assist in the election of any such person. 

"Finally, we wish sincerely to co-operate with the clergy in all things tending to the glory of 
God, the good of ourselves, the welfare of our people, and to the prosperity of our church. 

" ' Dated Buffalo, August 3d, 1850. 

(Signed.) '"N. OTTENOT, 


When the trustees had their difficulty with Bishop Hughes they seemed to be very anxious to 
have the public understand that they were right and the bishop was wrong, and they did not hesitate 
to misrepresent actual conditions to gain public sympathy or merit approval. They acted in a similar 
manner in their relations with Bishop Timon. After signing the above document they published in 
the German papers of Buffalo that they had triumphed and that Bishop Timon was forced to acknowl- 
edge his error. Bishop Timon was willing to allow them to enjoy any glory they might obtain from 
their misrepresentations as long as they would not injure the Church, but when these articles were 


published in English it became necessary to give a true statement of the case. The bishop published 
in the Buffalo papers the following answer to the misstatements of the trustees : 

"After having taken advice from pious, learned and distinguished priests, on Easter Sunday, 
Bishop Timon addressed the following letter to the congregation : 

" ' Having long borne with patience from the trustees' acts of usurped authority which have plunged 
your church in debt, and others which have caused this, once the most flourishing congregation in my 
diocese, to gradually fall away, so that whilst St. Mary's Church has six or seven hundred children in 
the parish schools, you have but a handful ; and, under incessant insinuations that your bishop wants 
to do now this, now that, the spirit of unholy distrust and of murmuring has entered the fold, and the 
piety of many has grown cold; it becomes our duty to remedy so sad a state of things. We are the 
more impelled to this by a step taken without our knowledge, and which we only learned a few days 
ago. It seems that many of the congregation were called upon to assume the payment of a debt for 
a needless addition to this church, began without my permission, and against all the laws of the church 
and the diocese. Now, under proper management, the resources of this church would suffice to pay 
the debt. You know, beloved brethren, that when you invited the Jesuits to come and serve this 
church, these fathers proposed that they would assume the debts of the church, and furnish as many 
German priests as might be necessary for your fullest spiritual comfort. Second, That this church 
should remain for ever the parish church of the German Catholics of this congregation, and that the 
Rev. Father would build school houses for your children. Now, if the Jesuits could offer such advan- 
tageous conditions, why did the trustees burden many of you with personal obligations for this debt ? 

" ' The promises these gentlemen made to me last August, have been broken in a most important 
feature. They bound themselves in a written article, that the parish priest should be president of 
the board; yet they have elected a lay president, contrary to the letter and the spirit of our agreement. 
Beloved brethren, you ought to know that even in Protestant churches of this State, the pastor is 
generally the only president of the board; so that those trustees wish to have your church under a far 
more Presbyterian government than most of the Protestant churches themselves. We know not what 
thus presses those gentlemen to meddle with the affairs of God's house; the priest or bishop never 
thinks of meddling with the affairs of your houses, or with the affairs of houses consecrated to civic 
or political uses; though by his taxes the priest pays in part for those houses effected to civic uses, he 
willingly leaves the care of them to men of the world; but the priest, the man of God, the bishop, 
as minister of God, is bound to take care of God's house. We willingly use the help of laymen in 
temporal affairs, but then upon the laymen whom we call to help us the power descends from above, 
it does not come from below; the bishop and the priest are called by God through a superior power, 
which also comes from God, and the laymen we call to aid us have their power also from above, through 
the bishop's nomination; then all is in peace, and God's blessing dwells in His houses. We now 
name five responsible men, N. N. N. N. N., as administrators of this church in temporal affairs. We 
also name Father C , the priest you desired, to be pastor; he will be assisted by two other clergy- 
men, in whose zeal and piety you and we have full confidence. We declare that, henceforward, the 
so-called trustees have no right in this church. The property is vested in us for your use. If they 
wish to be trustees, let them find a church in which to exercise their functions, but they will never have 
a priest to minister.' 

"The bishop having understood that the most unfounded statements had been made by the adverse 
party, had, on the following Sunday, a letter read to the flock, as follows : 

"'Beloved Brethren: On that holy and most solemn day, when our Blessed Lord rose from^he 
dead, and twice wished peace to His redeemed, I sought to procure the true and holy peace of this 
congregation by the declaration made to you last Sunday, and from which my love for you and for 
your happiness and peace in time and eternity, will never permit me to recede. But, with grief, I 
learn that now, as heretofore, men whom the spirit of party blinds and agitates, whisper among the 
people insidious doubts, and false, malignant insinuations. It is for your peace that I should notice 
them; for me to be calumniated or to be praised is all the same, and whether I succeed or do not suc- 
ceed in my efforts for your peace, God will reward my upright intentions. I seek but my God, and 
your salvation and happiness, for His glory. I have not long to live; I seek for nothing on earth, and 
it is my joy to know that when I die, all that is entrusted to me shall remain for the uses for which it 
was given, and I will retain nothing but my coffin and my shroud. Hence what I now say to you is 
not to defend myself, but to prevent the father of lies from destroying your peace. 


"'First, Beloved brethren, it has been said to you that I wished to take your church. Now, 
from my first coming among you, to many questions and proposals I ever returned the same answer, 
that I abhorred the very idea of permitting this church to be ever diverted from its application to the 
use of the German congregation of St. Louis' Church. I never wanted your church except to hold it 
in trust for you according to my deed, and to the very declaration of your trustees. I wish your church 
to be administered as almost all the churches in America, and as all the churches in my diocese but 
this, are administered; so that your trustees may not so fetter the action of your clergy, that they can 
do little for your spiritual comfort, little for the education of your children. I now declare solemnly 
to you, as I often declared to your trustees, that I do not want your church, except (in the very words 
of the donor, Mr. Lecouteulx,) "in trust to me and my successors in office of bishop for your sole use 
and benefit." I do not want the revenues of your church, do not even want to meddle with them; 
the revenues of your church shall be henceforth more carefully, more exactly, and most scrupulously 
applied to the sole use and benefit of this congregation and church. Alas, had I taken this measure 
three years ago, your beautiful church would now, I am sure, be finished, be well ornamented, and 
be out of debt.' 

A few days later a gentleman waited upon the bishop and handed him the following resolutions 
as the sentiments of the trustees : 


'"The committee appointed by the incorporated Society of St. Louis, to draw resolutions concern- 
ing the contents of the pastoral, published from the pulpit instead of the sermon, on the feast of the 
Easter, A. D. 1851, by Rev. Mr. Raffeiner, by the orders of the Rt. Rev. J. Timon, Bishop of the 
Diocese of Bufi'alo, Erie County, State of New York, by which (pastoral) said congregation of St. 
Louis is to be forcibly debarred of her legal administration of the temporal affairs of the church, in 
virtue of the State Charter of the 2d December, 1838, and to propose the same resolutions to the meeting 
adjourned to the 27th of April, 1851, for their approbation, has the honor to answer with this the wishes 
of the said congregation, and respectfully to propose its resolutions to their examination. 

" ' 1st. Resolved, That the society of the St. Louis, before all, regrets most heartily that for several 
years they have been so often disturbed in their truly Christian peace and indefatigable zeal in doing 
good, by their own clergy, the Rt. Rev. J. B. Timon, bishop, included, and are yet disturbed, for this 
only reason, that they (the congregation) refuse to give over to the Rt. Rev. Bishop Timon, as his 
free and absolute property, their beautiul new church of St. Louis— which they have built with their 
own means, and which was solemnly consecrated — so that he might, as the rumor has gone abroad, 
appropriate the same for the use of the Irish congregation. And, whereas, the Rt. Rev. Bishop, 
(since all his previous attempts to grasp at said St. Louis' Church have redounded against the firmness 
of St. Louis' congregation, which constantly fought, and always will fight for its rights), has betaken 
himself to violent measures, which not only are in direct opposition to the laws of the State, but may 
turn very pernicious to the holy Roman Catholic religion in the Union. 

"'2d. Resolved, Whereas, the Rt. Rev. Bishop refused personally to communicate to the com- 
mittee appointed legally by the board of the trustees, composed of Messrs. J. Haberstro and Anton 
Diebold, the pastoral published from the pulpit in St. Louis' Church, on Easter Sunday, (either the 
original or a copy thereof), St. Louis' congregation cannot but regret that the Right Rev. Bishop should 
have caused to be published from the pulpit upon one of the holiest festivals of the year; and at the 
solemn Divine service, in place of a religious discourse, that which he feels not inclined to entrust to 
two citizens. 

"'3d. Resolved, That the congregation of St. Louis will not take the least notice of the said 
pastoral, since said congregation was incorporated as a religious society under an act of this State, 
passed April 5th, 1813, with the consent of the generous donor, Louis Lecouteulx, and also with the 
consent of the Right Rev. Dubois, Bishop of New York; and that, although at that time, when the 
well known lot on which the St. Louis' Church stands, the society as such had no legal existence, and 
the land had been deeded in trust to the bishop of New York and his successors, that trust has entirely 
ceased since the act of incorporation, December 2d, 1838, and was transferred to the incorporated 
society of St. Louis, which shall see to it, that in all circumstances their charter may be preserved in 
all its strength. That the society of St. Louis will always call for his advice in the administration of 
the temporal aflfairs of the church. 


" ' 4th. Resolved, Whereas, neither the board of trustees, nor the society of St. Louis, had ever 
made to the Rt. Rev. Bishop J. B. Timon, or to the Rev. Fathers Jesuits, or to anybody whatsoever, 
any proposition that the said fathers of the Society of Jesus might take charge of the rehgious (spiritual) 
affairs of St. Louis society. This is founded on an error, of which the Rev. Bishop must be as well 
convinced as the board of the trustees, for, when the trustees were invited by the Rt. Rev. V. G. F. 
Guth to call at the bishop's instantly and in great hurry, they had not the slightest knowledge of the 
plan of giving St. Louis' Church into the hands of the Rev. Fathers Jesuits; they were opposed to 
having the Superior of the Jesuits sent for, until the Right Rev. Bishop told them personally, as they 
were retiring, that he had spoken over the matter with his Vicar General G., so as to appoint the 
Fathers Jesuits for this place, etc., etc. That some other individuals, moved by ambition and self- 
interest, had been working to the same purpose, is perfectly well known to St. Louis society. St. 
Louis society had been till now attended by secular priests, who stand under their bishop, and never 
preferred against them any complaint, notwithstanding the many chances of doing it. It only wishes 
to have such pastors who will do honor, not only to St. Louis' Church, but to the whole Roman Catholic 
religion in the Old and New World. 

" ' 5th. Resolved, That the reproach about religious schools of St. Louis' Church lies not at the 
door of the trustees or of the congregation, but rather of the clergy of said church, as no teacher was 
appointed to said school without the consent of the pastor, if not by his strong and formal request; 
but that, as soon as the teacher had the misfortune of calling on himself the displeasure of the pastor, 
there was no more mercy for him, and he had to leave the situation. This is a fact.' 

This document was dated April 27th, 1851; and it contained so many misrepresentations and 
absolute falsehoods that the bishop considered it necessary to correct the false impression which it 
might leave upon the minds of the good people of the congregation, and he sent them the following letter : 

" ' From a committee, styling itself your organ, and having for president a gentleman who never 
practices his religious duties as a Catholic, I received a paper full of falsehoods and insult. Judge for 
yourselves, beloved brethren. That document says that ''this congregation has been disturbed in its 
truly Christian peace, by the clergy and the bishop, only because they refuse to give up to Bishop Timon 
their church as his free and absolute property." Now, my brethren, did I ever ask you for such a 
thing .'' Have I not, on the contrary, often and most solemnly declared that I want nothing but to 
maintain the trust for you, as Mr. Lecouteulx had given it; and that I wished that trust to be adminis- 
tered for you by some from amongst yourselves, viz: by some laymen whose power, deriving from 
their bishop, might come from above. How then dare those men say, in a public document, that the 
only cause of disturbance is my wish to get the absolute property of your church ? I understand well 
enough the laws of my country, to know that the trustees could not give me such absolute right, even 
if they would, nor even could you, beloved brethren, give such right, and far am I from wishing it. 
Still those men presevere in the slanderous assertion, which originated with their party, in order to 
sow distrust between you and your bishop, and, in this document, they even dare to say, "the bishop 
wants to get the free and absolute property of this church in order, as rumor spreads, that he may 
give it to his Irish congregation!" May God have mercy on such deluded and deluding men, who dare 
to say that I even thought of taking St. Louis' Church from you to give to the Irish! But who was it 
that set so lying and slanderous a rumor in motion ? Was it not the very party that now dares, in a 
public document, boldly to endorse it ? 

"'Beloved brethren, we need waste no more words on this subject. Any man of sense, any 
Christian will now see that the bishop and the priests of a God of peace and truth, can have no fitting 
connection with an order of things which allows the father of lies to insinuate his malicious suspicions, 
first in a whisper, then more boldly, and finally in a public document, openly and unblushingly, striving 
to deceive God's people, first by insinuation and doubt, then by bold assertion, until, as occurred with 
Eve, they honor and esteem their spiritual authorities as long as they live up to the rules of the Roman 
Catholic Church, of course, the trustees of St. Louis' Church being judges! 

" ' I might rely on the law, and appeal for my rights to the courts, but, beloved brethren, I am not 
so fond of law as to engage in lawsuits for it, unless my duty compel me; your Catholic spirit, and the 
mild exercise of my Episcopal right, will, I trust, suffice. I seek but for the salvation of the souls 
entrusted to my care; provided they find peace and holy piety, though in a shed like that in which 
the Redemptorists long worshiped, I would be better satisfied than to see them in a splendid church, 
in which the spirit of lies and rebellion would be continually gnawing away the vitals of true piety. 


" ' If therefore, beloved brethren, the resolutions handed to me be really the resolutions of a majority 
of the congregation, (which I do not believe,) I must only withdraw the priests immediately. It is 
your duty to manifest your sentiments. Therefore let those who love their God in their religion, and 
who adhere to their bishop, as to the visible centre of Church unity in this diocese, let them declare 
themselves freely and fearlessly. God will bless and protect those who stand up for His cause. May 
He inspire into your hearts holy zeal and courage, to confess Him before men, that He may acknowledge 
you before His Heavenly Father.' 

When this letter was read those who were opposed to the bishop and to the discipline of the church 
were requested to retire. The large majority of the people remained in the church, and the pastor 
commenced to explain what the bishop required of them. The turbulent spirits outside re-entered 
the church, and created an uproar which impelled the pastor to retire permanently from the church, 
taking with him the blessed sacrament. For some Sundays following this disturbance the trustees 
held in the church services wliich were neither Protestant nor Catholic, but were according to a kind 
of ritual gotten up by themselves. The bishop felt that it was his duty to forbid services which were 
not authorized by the ritual of the Church and he addressed the following letter to the congregation: 

"'Buffalo, June 14, 1851. 
" ' To the faithful of the congregation of St. Louis' Church: 

" ' After exhausting all means of patience and of kindness to induce the trustees and their abettors 
to permit the laws of the Church to be freely executed in your congregation; after having known that 
your pastor was insulted in the church, menaced there in presence of the trustees, and ordered to 
leave the house of God, and thus forced to withdraw ; we have the grief to see that a kind of schismatic 
worship has been there established by the trustees; some of the sacred vestments, used in Divine 
worship, are placed on the children; the altars are adorned, vespers sung, the organ played, etc., 
whilst many neglect mass to assist at such rites. By the laws of God's Church, such acts subject 
those who assist at them to various spiritual penalties, and force the bishop to declare, as we now do, 
St. Louis' Church to be under an interdict; and consequently that no child of the Church can, without 
grievous sin, assist there at such rites and prayers, whilst this sad state of things continues. May 
God save our beloved in Christ from awful punishment, such as He inflicted in times past on those 
who, in their worldly wisdom, rebelled against Moses and Aaron.' 

"Strange how the same spirit has ever followed the said 'corporation,' Bishop Hughes never 
dreamed of taking their church. Yet in 1843 the innocent Germans were deceived by the party to 
believe it. That same party, on the 21st June, 1851, had the following article inserted in the Morning 
Express, of Buffalo: 

" ' St. Louis' Church. — This church, the oldest of that persuasion in our city, and the only one, 
perhaps, incorporated according to the laws of this State, is involved in serious difficulties with Bishop 
Timon, we understand in consequence of a refusal to abandon to him their church property, and the 
administration of their temporal affairs. A few years ago that congregation experienced the same 
troubles with Bishop Hughes, from a like cause, but after a rupture of two years, matters were settled 
to their satisfaction, they being secured in the enjoyment of their former rights. We learn that Bishop 
Timon has been more severe with the congregation of St. Louis than was Bishop Hughes, having, 
(after depriving them of their priests for the last two months), on Sunday, the I9th inst., caused a 
pastoral letter to be read in all the Catholic churches of the diocese, by which he pronounces excom- 
munication against that church and its congregation: We know nothing of the merits of this con- 
troversy, save what we hear, but it looks a little like taking us back to ages almost forgotton, when 
such things occur in a free country, where all religions are equally acknowledged and tolerated.' 

" In the same paper of the 24th June, the following answer appeared : 

" ' St. Louis' Church. — The upright-minded editor of the Express has been deceived, as was, by 
the same party, the editor of the Buffalo Gazette deceived in 1843. Bishop Timon never sought for 
any property in St. Louis' Church other than the deed Mr. Lecouteulx gave, and the laws of the 
Church made it the bishop's duty to maintain. He never even wished to administer the revenues of 
the church, but he was bound to see them administered in a Catholic spirit. The statements published 
in the Express of Saturday morning, are as false, with regard to Bishop Timon, as were false, with 
regard to Bishop Hughes, the statements in the Buffalo Gazette, which drew forth the following letter 
from that learned and distinguished prelate; the only difference is, that Bishop Timon has long and 
patiently borne with much more than Bishop Hughes had to bear with from the same party. It is 


false that Bishop Timon has excommunicated any one of that church. When the pastor (insulted 
and menaced in the church by a turbulent minority who domineer there), was, by them, ordered out 
of it, he did leave it. And, when many were deceived by the semblance of a public, uncatholic wor- 
ship, and neglected the great act of Catholic worship, (the mass), at which they might have assisted 
in different churches of the city, then the bishop, according to the laws of the Church and the decrees 
of the Council of Buffalo, pronounced an interdict on the church, that is, forbade any public worship 
in it. If any one incurs excommunication, it will be by his own act, for refusing to obey the laws of 
the Church, and assisting at a schismatic worship.' " 

A case similar to the St. Louis trouble occurred in Detroit, Mich. The conclusion of the judge 
in the Detroit case, although a Protestant himself, was that Catholics are obliged to obey the laws of 
their Church as long as they remained members of that Church. The very fact of persons being mem- 
bers of a church implies that they accept not only its principles of faith, but also its rules of discipline. 
When the trustees, therefore, of St. Louis' Church refused to obey the discipline of the Church they 
practically put themselves outside the pale of its communion, and they could not throw the blame 
upon the authorities of the Church if they were cut off from its membership. 

The trustees, and some others, manifested their disrespect for church authority and their bitter 
opposition to church law by misrepresenting the actions of the church officials. Many letters were 
published in the Buffalo journals reflecting upon the character and motives of the church officials. 
They stated that it was Mr. Le Couteulx's, the donor of the property, wish that St. Louis property 
should be managed as was church property in France. Bishop Timon knew French well, and he knew 
thoroughly the practices in France in regard to the ministration of church property, and he showed 
the trustees were wrong in their contention that church property there was managed by laymen. The 
following documents will show further the causes of contention and trouble between the trustees and 
the bishop: 

No. 1. 


"'Buffalo, June 28, 1851. 
" ' To the Editor of the Buffalo Morning Express: 

"'Dear Sir: In this letter of 'A Subscriber,' which I trace to the Reverend Francis Guth, for- 
merly pastor of St. Louis' Church, and now one of the Vicars General of this diocese, our congregation 
is violently taxed with falsehood, which could easily be returned to its author, but which a gentleman, 
who respects himself, cannot do; therefore, I will limit my answer to the simple relation of the causes 
which have brought so much spiritual severity upon our congregation. 

" ' Many years ago, when Buffalo was yet in its infancy, my late and much regretted father, Louis 
Lecouteulx, desirous to have a church in which to worship his Creator according to his persuasion, 
gave an extensive property on Main Street, on which to erect a Catholic church and make a cemetery; 
he gave besides- another valuable property on Delaware Street, to be leased into building lots, so as 
to make a perpetual revenue for said church. The deed was given in trust to the Right Reverend 
John Dubois, then bishop of the diocese of New York, and to his successors in office. 

"'The Catholics in Buffalo being but few at that time, and generally poor, a small church was 
erected on the premises given ; but their number increasing rapidly by daily emigration from all parts 
of Europe, it became necessary to think seriously of building a larger church; but their poverty was 
for some time a great obstacle to its accomplishment. However, through the greatest exertions on 
their part, and generous donations by some of the inhabitants of this city, the' present fine church of 
St. Louis was erected. The majority of the congregation being natives of France, where all church 
property belongs to the people, who have the administration of it, they expressed the wish that their 
church should be administered in the same manner, and to which, my worthy father consenting, also 
the Right Rev. Bishop Dubois, a Frenchman by birth, who had received the deed in trust, our church 
was incorporated according to the laws of this State upon religious corporation, and under a close act 
of incorporation, the 2d day of December, A. D., 1838; and from that day the trust of the property 
fell into the hands of the people, who had the management of its temporal affairs, and who enjoyed 
it fully and peaceably until the decease of their venerable and much regretted bishop, the Right Rev. 
John Dubois. 


"'The Rt. Rev. Bishop Hughes having succeeded him in office, we were left quiet but a few 
months, when faults began to be found with the administration of trustees; we were told that " Church 
property being for the use of God, belonged to God ; that laymen were improper persons to administer 
it; that it belonged to the clergy." Our resistance in maintaining our rights caused our priests to be 
withdrawn from our church, and for two years we were deprived of all spiritual succor: At the end 
of that time of unspeakable misery to our families, through the interference of a higher power, and a 
few concessions on our part to save appearance, (for the clergy can never be wrong,) a priest was 
reinstated in our church, and we remained in peace until the diocese of New York was divided into 
three dioceses, and Buffalo being the See of one, the Right Rev. Timon became our bishop, who, 
after a short time, followed the same course as did his predecessor, and who found no way to get us 
to his wishes but by sending Jesuits to our church, and appointing one our pastor! From that day 
mischief grew rapidly, and division appeared among us; pastoral letters were frequently read and 
enforced by commentaries from our Jesuit pastor, said bishop claiming his right of trust, as given by 
my father. At last, no doubt as an experiment, the bishop had one of his pastoral letters read, in 
which he informed the congregation that he had dismissed our trustees and appointed others, of whom 
he gave the names! This act, which nothing can justify, caused a spontaneous meeting of the congre- 
gation to take place, in which respectful but firm resolutions were adopted and transmitted to the 
bishop, maintaining our trustees in office and rejecting those appointed by him. From that moment 
war was seriously engaged. On the Sunday following, another pastoral letter was read by our Jesuit 
pastor, who, in his commentaries to enforce the bishop's rights, insulted the congregation by calling 
them liars and other such gentle expressions, until he exasperated the people and made them forget 
that they were in the house of the Lord; an act always to be deplored. Quiet being soon restored, 
said Jesuit pastor took occasion of it to invite those in favor of the bishop (otherwise his wishes,) to 
remain in the church to be counted, and the others to go out, which again caused some disorder. The 
consequence of all this has been the withdrawal of the clergy from our church, and for these last two 
months we have been deprived of Divine service and all spiritual succor ! 

"'In the hope that the Right Rev. Bishop would reflect upon such a state of things, and relent 
upon his unjust severity toward us, we continued to frequent our church to pray in common, which, 
in "A Subscriber's" letter, is called an act of "uncatholic and schismatic worship ! " What ! to pray God 
in common in a consecrated church is uncatholic and schismatic worship ? To what days are we 
then come to, that such things can be said in a country (ike this ? 

" ' Since I am on the Rev. Francis Guth's letter, I am happy to see him affirm so positively that 
"it is false that Bishop Timon has excommunicated any one from the St. Louis' Church;" yet I cannot 
make out the difference which he tries to establish between an excommunication and the interdiction 
which he says the bishop has been obliged to pronounce against our church. My full belief is that 
it amounts to the same thing. 

" ' As to the Right Reverend Bishop Hughes' letter, which you have been begged to give a new 
insertion, I will observe that it is dated the fourth of April, 1843, and having answered it at the time, 
further comment upon it would be useless, particularly, belonging as it does to a controversy which 
took place so many years ago, and which has been satisfactorily settled between the parties it concerned. 

" ' I will conclude this already very long letter with saying, that several attempts have been made 
with Bishop Timon to bring him to better feelings towards our congregation, but in vain. " Submit 
to your Bishop," was the only answer that could be obtained! Myself, for one, took care to explain 
to him that our act of incorporation being a close one, it required the unanimity of the congregation 
to alter it or annul it, and that my firm belief was that it could never take place. His answer to me 
was : " I cannot change my dispositions ; a church is already in the course of erection for the dissenters 
from yours, and if it is not sufficient, one, or even two more shall be built, so as to leave but few per- 
sons in your church, who may then become Protestants if they please." 

"'We can now but hope to put a stop to such warfare upon incorporated religious congregations; 
the legislature of this State will, one day to come, and perhaps not far distant, see fit to prohibit the 
clergy from holding Church property, as it exists all through France and many other parts of Europe. 

"'Very respectfully yours, 



No. 2. 


"The following petition, in relation to the cemetery connected with St. Louis' Church, in this 
city, was presented to the Common Council, read, and ordered printed in the city papers: 
" ' To the Hon. the Common Council of the City of Buffalo ; 

" ' Greeting : The undersigned, trustees of the St. Louis' Catholic Church, in this city, for 
themselves, and in behalf of the other members of this congregation, incorporated according to the 
laws of this State, on the 2d day of December, A. D., 1838, would very respectfully represent to your 
honorable body, that in the year 1832, when the cholera was threatening to invade this city, the Com- 
mon Council rendered an ordinance prohibiting the burial of dead persons within the city limits, 
which said prohibition deprived your petitioners of the use of a burial ground given them by one of 
their fellow members, the late Louis Lecouteulx. 

" ' At that time, said congregation having but just finished the erection of their church, and being 
too poor to purchase another cemetery, their hard case was submitted to the Common Council by 
Alderman White; which, in consideration of their precarious situation, the damage sustained in being 
deprived of the use of their burial ground, and furthermore, upon that principle that as tax-payers 
they would have to contribute towards the payment for any purchase made by the city, adopted a 
resolution granting your petitioners (the St. Louis' Church being the only one of that persuasion in 
the city,) a piece of land to be used as a cemetery, being part of a certain tract of land bought by the 
city of Wm. T. Miller and others, and situated out of its limits. At the time of said grant, the congre- 
gation of the St. Louis' Church not being yet incorporated, Dyre Tillinghast, Esq., then city clerk, 
inquired of the late Louis Lecouteulx in the name of whom the conveyance for said grant was to be 
made, who told him, " that having himself made grants of lands to said congregation, he had conveyed 
the title in trust to Right Reverend John Dubois, Catholic Bishop of the Diocese of New York, and 
that he thought that the conveyance for said grant made by the city should be executed in the same 
manner;" which was effectually done, but with an unfortunate omission, the words in trust not 
being inserted in said conveyance. 

The consequence of that unfortunate omission for your petitioners is, that the Right Reverend 
Bishop Timon, now Catholic bishop of the new See of Buffalo, has lately claimed said cemetery as 
his own, turned out our grave-digger and appointed another, and otherwise having taken the whole 
control of said premises, permitting to be buried there only those he pleases, and mostly from congre- 
gations not in existence in the city at the time of the grant, to the exclusion of that of the church of 
St. Louis, for which it was intended, and creating himself a revenue out of said cemetery, by charging 
a fee of two dollars for each body buried there! 

That Bishop Timon should buy lands (as he has already done,), to make cemeteries, and specu- 
late upon the sale of them into small lots to those willing to buy them, your petitioners have nothing 
to say; but when that spirit of speculation extends to that cemetery given by the city for the use of 
our congregation, surely we have a right to complain, and to seek redress at the hands of the donors. 
'"The congregation of St. Louis' Church, since the demise of their worthy bishop, John 
Dubois, have been sadly tormented by his successors in office, for their resistance to annul their act 
of incorporation. They are now under the displeasure of Bishop Timon for no other motive; and, 
as a last experiment, to bring them to obedience to his arbitrary will, he has thought fit to withdraw the 
clergy from their church, and by so doing to deprive them of all those consolations derived from religion. 
Your petitioners can but hope that your honorable body will see fit, as grantors, to give them 
that relief which they claim, by enforcing the use of the grant as intended by the city, or by any other 
measures w hich your honorable bod may think fit, so that the congregation of St. Louis' Church 
may re-enter into the full possession and control of their cemetery, where the remains of their friends 
have been deposited for the last twenty years. And your petitioners will ever pray and feel grateful 
for your so doing. '"J. HABERSTRO, 



No. 3. 
" ' To the Hon. the Mayor and City Council of BuJJalo: 

" ' Gentlemen: Profound respect for your honorable body induces me now to act contrary to the- 
resolution I had taken, never more to notice the misrepresentations of men who wish to belong to our 
Church, provided that Church consent to be taught and ruled by them. They inform your honorable 
body "that Bishop Timon has lately claimed said cemetery as his own." Now I have lately claimed 
nothing more that I, and my predecessors, claimed from the beginning. 

"'On the 19th of February, 1848, W. B. Lecouteulx, Esq., stopped me in the street to inform 
me that he was about handing in a petition to your honorable body. After reading it, I told him that 
it contained many things that were not true, others misrepresented or exaggerated; and that, further 
I held the deed of that cemetery. He came to my house, read the deed, and I heard no more of an 
attempt to appropriate to a small fraction of the Catholics of Buifalo what had been given for all. 
On the 2d of March, 1833, the Honorable Mayor made a deed to Bishop Dubois of the land in ques- 
tion. Different congregations were formed from those who, in March, 1833, worshipped in St. Louis' 
Church. Those of St. Patrick's Church first migrated, but still retained their rights on the cemetery; 
and about five years ago the Irish Catholics made a collection for repairing the fence. The Germans 
of St. Mary's Church erected a poor shelter, in which they could worship in peace, when the trustees 
forced Bishop Hughes to withdraw the priest from St. Louis' Church; and, though those Germans 
subsequently bought a graveyard, yet they never renounced their rights. St. John's Church had equal 
claims. St. Peter's withdrew, with the then pastor of St. Louis' Church, (the Rev. Mr. Guth,) when 
he and they found the yoke of the trustees too heavy. St. Michael's Church, too, was formed from 
St. Louis'. The present pastor was pastor of St. Louis' Church, when in the peaceable discharge of 
his duty he was insulted in the church, ordered out, and menaced. He retired meekly, bearing with 
him the holy sacrament; but neither he nor his flock abandoned their just rights. 

"'In August, 1849, I received information from St. Louis' Church that the old graveyard was 
full; then, on the 15th of August, 1849, I consecrated as a graveyard, a piece of ground which had 
been purchased for another object. Publicly, and before a large concourse of people, I read aloud 
the rules which should govern the allocation of lots. They were: 1st, That the poor should have 
graves free of charge ; 2d, That as the land had been bought and fenced in, not by contributions or by 
public money, but by funds advanced by one individual, those who had means should pay a moderate 
rate for graves; that the money thus obtained would go to liquidate the debt on the graveyard, and 
that, as soon as that debt was paid, the revenue accruing from subsequent sales should be applied 
solely to keeping the cemetery in order and adorning it. 

"'The whole amount received, up to this time, from that new cemetery, is less than one-third 
of the sum advanced on it. v 

" ' Having been warned that it was no longer decent to bury in the old cemetery, I told the pastor 
of St. Louis' Church that it should be closed, but that if Catholics, from any parish of the city, greatly 
wished, through affection for the dead there interred, to be buried near their friends, he, the pastor 
of St. Louis' Church, might give permission; requiring, however, two dollars for each grave, and 
retaining the money thus received to form a small fund, which should be solely employed in keeping 
up the fences, lest, in some years, hogs and cattle might rummage amidst the graves of the dead. But 
I was soon informed that I was deceived as to the state of the graveyard. I then revoked that order, 
and burials ever since have been going on as before, without charge. This the trustees of St. Louis' 
Church well knew. Well did they know that I never received a cent from that cemetery, that I never 
sought it; yet they dare tell you that Bishop Timon permits to be buried there only those he pleases, 
to the exclusion of the church of St. Louis, creating himself a revenue of the said cemetery. May 
God have mercy on men who can descend to such means ! 

" ' With profound respect, honorable gentlemen, your most obedient, humble servant, 

" ' + JOHN TIMON. Bishop of Buffalo.' " 


No. 4. 

•"Buffalo, April 5, 1852. 
" ' To the Hon. Common Council of the City of Buffalo: 

"'The undersigned, who were members of St. Louis' Church of Buffalo, at the time the deed 
hereinafter referred to was given, do respectfully remonstrate against your honorable body taking any 
action on the petition of the trustees of said church, relative to the Catholic burying ground. 

"'It is with feelings of deep regret that we are called upon to act in this matter. Many years 
since we emigrated to the village of Buffalo, here to make our homes, where we could enjoy the 
religion of our fathers. About that time, the Hon. Louis Lecouteulx made a donation of a very large 
piece of land, sufficient for church and burying ground purposes for a long time yet to come, had not 
your predecessors prohibited the use of said ground for burial purposes. At this time there was but 
one Catholic church in Buffalo, organized under the Bishopric of New York; this was then and is now 
called the St. Louis' Church, in which the French, German, Irish, Italian and English Catholics all 
worshiped the same God, and kneeled at the same altar. At this time, on the 2d March, 1833, the 
City of Buffalo, by Ebenezer Johnson, mayor, etc., Dyre Tillinghast, clerk, under the corporate seal 
of said city, for the consideration of five dollars in the deed expressed, conveyed to John Dubois, Roman 
Catholic Bishop of New York, and to his successors in the holy office of bishop, in trust forever for 
the sole and only uses of a Roman Catholic burial ground, eighty-eight feet front of land, running 
back to the road, etc., (being the land which has been used for that purpose since the day of the grant,) 
which deed was, on the 4th April, 1833, recorded in Erie County Clerk's Office, in liber 20 of deeds, 
at page 455, to which we beg leave to refer. From the day of the said grant until the present time, 
the Catholics of Buffalo, who have now, independent of St. Louis' Church, seven church organizations, 
viz. : St. Patrick's, St. Mary's, St. John's, St. Michael's, St. Peter's, St. Mary's of the Lake, and St. 
Joseph's, which churches have been organized by members of St. Louis' Church, who, for convenience 
and brotherly love, have aided in erecting such church edifices, and who are all Roman Catholics, 
and owe ecclesiastical allegiance to the Right Rev. John Timon, Bishop of Buffalo, and successor of 
the venerable and departed John Dubois, late bishop of New York. 

"'Our kindred and friends lie buried in said grounds; our wives, our children, there rest in peace, 
and where we wish that our bodies may be interred. In said ground our wives, children, kindred and 
friends have found a common resting place; by your grant we are entitled to rest there. Nearly 
twenty years since you did one of the most solemn acts you could perform; you donated to us the 
right to have our bodies interred by the side of our wives and children. 

" ' You are now called upon by the trustees of St. Louis' Church to act disgraceful in the sight of 
God and man, and say you, the City of Buffalo, have repudiated your act and deed, and have per- 
mitted a self-constituted body of priestless men, without any ecclesiastical power or authority, to 
assume the control of that which now belongs to, and is held in trust for, the members of seven churches, 
regularly organized. 

" ' We admit that we have reason to believe, and do believe, that the grave-digger has been dis- 
missed. We do not know the reason, or when the same was done; but we do know that this same 
man left the bodies of the dead so near the surface of the ground, that your honorable body was com- 
pelled, at a large expense, to cover the same with earth during the summer of 1849. If he was not 
discharged for this reason, he should have been. 

" ' In regard to pay for interment, all we can say is, that the deposed grave-digger has, for nearly 
eighteen years, charged for his services about double what is charged in other grounds, and we deny 
most unequivocally that any other charge has been made for interments. 

'"With this information before you, we ask who is right? 

"'Very respectfully, your ob't servants.'" 

Here follow the names of forty-four members. 

No. 5. 

"'Mr. Editor: Bishop Timon adheres to his resolution of not noticing the misstatements of a 
gentleman who insists on remaining a Roman Catholic, but who has long neglected to practice its 
most sacred duties. To me it seems that the bishop is over delicate in his views of charity. To me 
it seems that, as some may be deceived, misrepresentation tending to foment division and strife ought 


Very Rev. MARK MOESLEIN, C. P., 


Sisters of St. Joseph, Dunkirk. 



Rev. B. SWINKO, 















Replaced by a new Edifice. Erected by Father Mildeiu 1903. 




Rev. E.J. Duffy, Rector. 

Key. JNO. J. DEALY, 




— - 



'S .' 










Rev. E, J RENGEL, 







^ ' 

Hl^w^. *'»«4^4*s 

'■?■ . -'"^■'. 









Carrollton . 




HIGH ALTAR, ST. MARY'S CHURCH, Strykersville. 

Rev. L. Bastian, 
Bennington Center, 



to be contradicted. Extracts fi-om a few letters will suffice for this. The first is from P. A. Lecouteulx, 
Esq., received by Bishop Timon in August, 1851, with permission to make it public. Delicacy for 
the feelings of a gentleman in this city, induced the bishop not to use that permission. I lately with 
difiiculty, obtained leave to copy it, and now give extracts to the public : 

" ' Right Rev. Sir: If hitherto I have not intervened in the difficulty which exists between you 
and the Germans of the congregation of St. Louis, it was in hopes that, touched by your forbearance, 
they would yield, acknowledging your authority and the inviolable rights which you and your succes- 
sors have over the church of St. Louis and its dependencies. Hence I waited till now. But now 
that you are forced to interdict the church of St. Louis, (having also read in the daily papers that the 
trustees of St. Louis' Church maintained that its temporal property ought to remain where my father, 
L. F. Lecouteulx, the founder of that church, had placed it, namely, in the trustees, intimating thereby 
that it was due to his memory to maintain his will,) I consider that I would be culpable if I remained 
silent longer, without raising my voice to refute the shameless calumnies spread about against you by 
a faction of the German congregation of that church. I also thought it my duty to publish the wishes 
of my father, and to demand a strict fulfillment. Previously to the year 1829, the Roman Catholics 
were not very numerous; they were French, Germans and Irish. My father having requested of 
Bishop Dubois a priest for the Catholics of Buffalo, received him into his house, and placed at his 
disposal a room in which mass was said. This place soon became too small. My father made then 
a donation to Bishop Dubois and to his successors, of lots for the use of a Roman Catholic church, 
and for the establishment of a school, a Presbytery, etc. The Catholics, French, German and Irish, 
caused immediately a small church to be built at common expense; they also built the priest's house, 
and some time after a school house. Besides the lots alluded to, my father gave money for these 
buildings. The Catholic population having rapidly increased, and the church not being able to con- 
tain them, the Irish formed a congregation apart; but as they had, in common, concurred in the erec- 
tion of this church, my father, through a sense of justice which always characterized him, made dona- 
tion of a lot to this congregation. St. Louis' Church remained with the French and Germans, but 
the population having rapidly increased, the old church became too small, and the congregation was 
obliged, in 1838-39, to build upon the same site the vast edifice which now stands there. The building 
was constructed under the direction of Rev. Alexander Pax, and finished by the aid of voluntary con- 
tributions, and by the joint efforts of all the Catholics, and even of strangers. 

"'Everything went on well, and the most perfect peace prevailed between the French and Ger- 
mans up to the death of my father, which took place in 1840. Disorder then began. (The date fixed 
by Bishop Hughes for the beginning of troubles is 1841.) The trustees commenced to arrogate undue 
power to themselves, justifying their illegal usurpation on the ground of having been incorporated, 
and having then acquired the exclusive right over the church and its dependencies, saying that in 
this they fulfilled the will of my father. I can affirm that this demand of incorporation has been 
made without concurrence of my father, who, as the founder, ought, at least, to have been consulted. 
I am even led to think that he was ignorant of it. He had, indeed, often spoken to me of his desire 
to have Magnillis or Counselors, such as we had in France. But I affirm, that never did he wish that 
trustees or administrators (especially by election,) should be appointed and be invested with a power 
thus repugnant to the Holy Roman Catholic Church, for which he had the greatest respect; if such atx 
intention had been manifested to him, he would oppose it with all his might. Further he knew that, 
in the position of the congregation of St. Louis' Church, composed in part of French and Germans, 
it was necessary that the power should be in the hands of the bishop and of the pastor of the church, 
in order to maintain the just rights of all, and to prevent the majority, which was already German, 
from trampling on the rights of his compatriots. It is evident that it was for this my father made 
the donation of the property to Bishop Dubois and to his successors ; the trustees knew, as well as I 
did, this will of my father; hence it was only after his death that they laid claim to the property and 
administration of the church. It is useless, sir, for me to retrace here what has been the deplorable 
consequences of the unhappy system adopted by the trustees. You have developed them better than 
I could in your historical document relative to this affair. I shall not, then, limit myself to its sad 
consequences for the French. 

" ' At the time of the nomination of trustees by election, the Germans of the congregation of St. 
Louis were most numerous; the French never obtained but a weak minority; finally the French, dis- 
gusted at the vexations they had to suffer, withdrew from the elections.' (Mr. Lecouteulx here enters 
at large on various complaints of the French against the trustees; some of them were submitted to the 


bishop for arbitration. Mr. Lecouteulx complains that the trustees violated the agreement then entered 
into, and continues): 'It would be too tedious to enumerate all the vexations which the German 
trustees inflicted on the French part of the congregation; they became intolerable, and forced the 
French to quit their church during your absence, with the pastor of St. Louis' Church, who could no 
longer risk the dignity of his ministry by suffering such usurpations. It is evident from what I write 
that there has been a determination since my father's death to get possession of the property of the 
church, and to chase away the French. To attain this, the most iniquitous arts have been resorted 
to, and, to justify all, they dare to say that they execute the will of my father. This assertion is an 
outrage on liis memory, and I regret it with indignation. 

(Signed,) "'P. A. LECOUTEULX.'" 

The trustees claimed that they were incorporated with the sanction of Bishop Dubois and the 
knowledge of Mr. Le Couteulx. Father Pax, however, stated under his signature that he did not 
believe that Bishop Dubois knew anything about the incorporation. Mr. P. A. Le Couteulx declared 
that his father never desired any such incorporation. The trustees claimed to have absolute control 
of the property, according to their act of incorporation; and as they seemed to be determined to hold 
services according to their own manner in the church. Bishop Timon found it necessary to put an 
interdict upon the church, so that Catholics would not be misled into attending services which were 
not Catholic worship. The interdict was issued June 24, 1851. Father Guth had already withdrawn 
from the congregation with the French people, and had organized a parish for them on Washington 
Street. Many of the Germans had also joined the congregation of St. Mary's, and the malcontents 
were abandoned by all those who wished to observe the laws of the Church. 

In the year 1853, Monseigneur Bedini, Papal Nuncio at Brazil, visited the United States, and the 
trouble between St. Louis' Church and Bishop Timon was submitted to his judgment. The trustees 
presented their case in the form of a memorial, and a few days later the Nuncio gave the following 
decision : 

" ' To the Trustees of St. Louis' Church, Buffalo, 

" ' Gentlemen: I have read, with great attention, the memorial which you handed to me, relative 
to the unhappy difficulties existing, or which did exist, between some members of St. Louis' congrega- 
tion and their bishop. Deplorable, indeed, is the condition of that congregation. Instead of enjoying 
in peace the comforts of religion — practicing it, and honoring it in love and charity — discord and 
bitterness are found; and even in the temple a sad desolation reigns. A truly Christian heart cannot 
remain longer in such a state. Indeed, the Catholic who would not seek to be delivered from it, by 
a reasonable submission to authority, would excite just doubts of his faith, and of his sincere will to 
follow the Divine teaching of that faith. But the appeal which you have made to the Holy Father, 
and which you again make to me as his representative, proves, I hope, that you wish to terminate 
those unhappy dissensions, and that you, as is just, expect that result from his authority and counsels. 

" ' I see no necessity for passing in review all the details or all the assertions of your memorial. 
The root of the evil and its remedies are very evident. My whole attention shall be directed to point 
them out. 

" ' I thought it my duty, first of all, to examine carefully the original deed of the church lot. I 
find that in the year 1829, it was given by Mr. L. Lecouteulx " for the sole and only use of a Roman 
Catholic Church and Cemetery;" consequently its whole administration, whether in the measures 
taken to provide for its wants, or to remedy any abuses that may arise, should be founded on the princi- 
ples and laws which regulate the discipline of the Catholic Church. 

" ' Furthermore, I find that the original deed was made by Mr. Lecouleulx to Bishop Dubois, with 
the condition that the property should remain in his hands, and in those of his successors, for the pur- 
pose above mentioned. Now, such a donation having been accepted by Bishop Dubois, and the 
church having been built on a lot thus acquired, the principles which regulate its administration admit 
of no doubt. 

" ' In your statement you speak of a " Charter " obtained afterwards, and of your duty to observe 
the laws of your country. I will ever be among the first in exhorting you to observe the laws of your 
country, and to be invariably faithful to your duties as citizens of this vast and illustrious Republic. 
You know well, as Catholics, that not only nothing prevents your fulfilling such duties, but that for 
you, as such, they become even more sacred. I must remark, however, that to observe the laws of your 


country is one thing; to avail yourselves of your privileges for the purpose of arraying yourselves in op- 
position to your Church, and to the authority of your bishop and clergy, in the free discharge of their 
duty, is another and a quite different thing. I sought in vain for some proof of Bishop Dubois' consent 
to the Act of Incorporation, procured on the 2d of December, 1838, nearly ten years after the original 
grant. But even supposing that he gave it, certain it is that he neither could nor ought to have con- 
sented to anything incompatible with the basis of that grant. No one could, by subsequent rights, no 
matter how obtained, justly destroy rights enjoyed previously by the ministers of the Church, ac- 
cording to the rules and discipline thereof. 

"'The question, then, always remains the same: What were the essential rights of the bishop 
in the church of St. Louis, according to the original deed, and the laws of the church which should 
govern it ? Evidently rights obtained later should aim at preserving the original ones, not at destroying 

" ' But in this question it is not necessary to advance beyond its strict limits. If there were ques- 
tions of revenues accruing from property or capital given or acquired for the use of the church, which 
was in itself productive, the rights and the obligations of those who administered them, or who claimed 
a share in the administration, would depend on the conditions stipulated by the donor and accepted 
by the church, according to her own rules of discipline; and the decision of difficulties that might 
arise could only, be based on her laws, and on the above named conditions. But I find nothing of this 
in the case before me. Here there are no possessions or capital to be administered which can, prop- 
erly speaking, be said to be productive. Only the offerings of the faithful are to be received and dis- 
tributed, whether these offerings are given during the public worship, or are previously agreed upon 
for the use of pews during Divine service. Can there be anything more exclusively subject to the 
ecclesiastical ministry than this kind of revenue.'' The pews are not, of themselves, productive; you 
yourselves, whilst your church was closed, could see this. The oblations and the contributions for 
pews take place only in view of the Divine service, and that it may be carried on, and they must be 
appropriated to meet the expenses incurred in performing it, or to support the ministers appointed by 
the bishop to celebrate the Divine mysteries. Those contributions, then, are but the direct result of 
the sacred ministry, and consequently must be subject to the free administration of ecclesiastical 
authority. The bishop who sends thither the ministers has the right to prescribe the mode of collecting 
such contributions, and of distributing them, so as fully to accomplish the sacred intentions for which 
they are given. 

"'He has, also, the right of making such changes or modifications in the rules governing such 
matters as may become necessary from time to time. The canonical prescriptions which guide the 
bishop in his actions are, on the other hand, well known; they prevent the possibility of abuse, or 
provide an efficacious remedy for it. These very prescriptions not only give the bishop power, but 
they impose on him the obligation of remedying abuses which might occur in the administration, 
however legally acquired, of property and revenues of any kind which belong to the Church. But, 
as in your case there is question solely of pious oblations or contributions, which, after all, are but 
voluntary, there can be no doubt that the bishop has full right to determine the manner of regulating 
them, and he, more than any one else, will take a deep interest in applying them to their holy destina- 
tion. When, therefore, your bishop informed you that he would name, out of your own congregation, 
a certain number of persons to receive and distribute, for the use and benefit of the same, the aforesaid 
oblations, whether offered during the holy sacrifice, or given for the use of pews by those who occupy 
them during the Divine service, it was manifestly your duty to submit, as he had an undoubted right 
to make such arrangements. 

"'Your very memorial shows abundantly that the system of administration heretofore existing 
was very defective, since you have only disorders to deplore; and your very assertions prove clearly 
that to cure them fully and radically, your bishop could not have acted otherwise than he did. 

" ' Mention is often made in said memorial of an intention to change the nationality of the church 
of St. Louis, and, by giving it to others, to take it away from those to whom it was first given. But 
the existence of such an intention is denied by the bishop, (I have no proof of it,) I cannot even believe 
it possible ; and if ever it were attempted the Holy See is ready to make the execution of such an attempt 
impossible. "^ 

" ' You say also that, since your charter of incorporation gives to the trustees elected by the con- 
gregation the administration of oblations, and the above mentioned contributions, you cannot cede 
it, without failing in your duty. Here I call to your mind what has been already stated. When, in 


such an affair, you use the rights which the civil law gives you, you are bound to make your action 
harmonize with your duty as Catholics. The privilege which the civil law here grants is permissive; 
you may use it or not. It is your duty to consult the principles of your faith, to ascertain when and 
how you ought to use it. 

" ' Without examining the legal rights which accrue to you as trustees under your charter of incor- 
poration, and without determining by whom and in what way the thing should be done, it suffices for 
me to state what the bishop may lawfully decide and require, and to this the congregation, either by 
mere consent or by direct and immediate action, should conform. Consequently, I declare that those 
who refuse fail in their duty, and by thus hindering the bishop in the free exercise of his holy ministry, 
they become responsible for all the sad consequences that may result. Furthermore, I cannot believe 
that any law of the State will prevent your conforming to the discipline of your church; on the contrary, 
I know that the spirit of justice, which so strongly characterizes the legislation of this country, will 
never make the accomplishment of its duties impossible to a religious congregation, nor compel them 
to adopt a course that would necessarily produce disorder and confusion. But, if by chance it were 
otherwise, I am convinced that you need only make the case known to the legislative body, and they 
would grant such modification of the law as would place your legal position in harmony with the laws 
of the Church to which you belong. I know that such acts of justice, in favor of other corporations, 
have already emanated from the Legislature of this State, and I cannot believe that a like concession, 
so evidently just, would be refused to the Catholics of this Republic, when once they make their wants 
known, and sincerely seek a remedy. In the meantime, if you but do your duty, nothing need pre- 
vent the administrators named by the bishop from discharging their duties, even legally, in the church 
of St. Louis; and I counsel you to take the necessary steps to effect this object as soon as possible. 
The bishop does not ask for himself the administration; he is ready to place it in the hands of members 
of your own congregation, but appointed by him. All that these may receive in the church, shall be 
used for the congregation itself; and at fixed periods shall give an account of their administration to 
the bishop as well as to the faithful that frequent the church. Thus peace and order have been restored 
to other congregations ; and the same will doubtless happen here, as soon as you have the sincere desire 
of restoring order, and of enjoying the precious advantages of a holy and lasting peace. 

" ' I request you to reflect most seriously and conscientiously on what you will do after this answer. 
You undoubtedly are free to submit or not to my declaration, and to follow my counsel ; but the Catholic 
Church is also free to recognize those that are truly her children, and those that are not. After so 
many dissensions, disorders, and painful agitations, it is time to return to peace, and to make the vine- 
yard of the Lord flourish in union, in charity, and in humility, without which it is impossible to please 
God. The congregation of St. Louis' Church, by adopting the course indicated, which alone is just 
and indispensable, will give a noble proof of faith and charity, and a sincere desire for order and peacer 
will crown all my efforts with the most happy success ; and they will have a very large portion in the 
benedictions which the Catholic Church and its visible head bestow on her zealous and obedient 
children. But if they refuse, I can only see in them persons faithless to their duties, who make use of 
their privileges, not to edify in the Church of God, but to destroy; who, by placing obstacles to the 
free exercise of Episcopal authority, can never be received as obedient sons of the Church of God. 
who has confided solely to Bishops the power and the right to govern it. " Posuit episcopos regere 
Ecclesiam Dei." — Acts xx: 28. 

The Holy See will ever perpetuate the succession of worthy and holy pastors, and the common 
father of the faithful is always ready to provide for the spiritual wants of the flock in every part of the 
world, by providing such pastors, and by the prescriptions, the rules, and the holy discipline of the 
Church. You now know his decision, his counsel, and even his earnest recommendation in regard to 
the question at issue; you have only to comply with this earnest recommendation to merit still more 
fully his paternal care and holy benedictions. Your submission to the laws of the Church will ever 
be a pledge of your submission to every other law to which you are subject, as it is impossible to be a 
good Catholic, and not be at the same time a good citizen of your country. 

"'Archbishop of Thebes, Apostolic Nuncio.'" 

The trustees were not satisfied with the Nuncio's decision, and their reply manifests their dis- 
pleasure at what they believed to be his desire to annul their charter. They sent the following reply 
to the Papal Nuncio: 



"'October 25th, 1853. 

" ' Excellency: We have read the esteemed answer given by you at our last interview, (this morn- 
ing,) with a great deal of attention, and we see therein, with great astonishment, that you say 
"among a feiv members of the congregation," (although we are very numerous.) 

"'It appears to us that you have been misinstructed in that regard, and we would propose to 
your Excellency the contrary, if his Excellency think it necessary, by calling a general meeting of the 
congregation in St. Louis' Church, at any time your Excellency may appoint, with forty-eight hours. 
We know positively that the congregation of St. Louis Church is yet three hundred family fathers strong. 

" ' Furthermore, we see nothing in your Excellency's answer, but a repetition of the demand made 
by the Right Rev. Bishop Timon, that is, entire submission, and that our act of incorporation should 
be annulled, and that the appointment of a committee instead of a board of trustees, should be made by 
him, which has been the cause of our difficulties. Up to the time of the beginning of these difficulties, 
we never meddled with the spiritual, leaving it entirely to the pastor and bishop, but as to the tem- 
poralities we had always the control, subject nevertheless to the yearly inspection of the Right Reverend 
Bishop and pastor, (and at any time within the fiscal year,) over the amount expended and received, 
and which the pastor always found correct. As to the annulling of our act of incorporation, there is 
not the least shadow of thought, as we believe that temporalities have nothing to de with spiritualities. 

" ' If your Excellency thinks that, by having another interview, (the Right Reverend Bishop in 
person present,) a reconciliation can be effected, we leave it to your Excellency's own discretion, pray- 
ing to inform us of the appointed time to such an inter^'iew, if one is to be had. 

" ' In hopes that a reconsideration of the past transactions will be made, and that a more favorable 
discussion in our favor will take place, 

" ' I have the honor to be, with high respect, your Excellency's most sincere and obedient servant, 

"'Secretary of the Board of Trustees of St. Louis' Church. 
'"To his Excellency, C. BEDINI, 

"'Apostolic Nuncio, at St. Mary's Church.' " 

The Nuncio was willing to hear them again, to make sure that there might not be any misunder- 
standing, and also to give them an opportunity to give additional information or express their desire 
to conform to the laws of the Church. He sent his final answer to the trustees, which settled the case 
as far as he was concerned. 


" ' To the Trustees of St. Louis' Church: 

" ' I informed you that I was ready to hear you again, as I was told that you had something to 
add to the letter of your secretary, in answer to mine of the 25th inst. I also wished to know for certain 
if that letter was the expression of the sentiment of the board of trustees. In our last interview you 
told me that you had nothing more to say, and that the aforesaid letter was the expression of your 
sentiments. I made known to you at the same time that I had not authorized any one to say a word 
to you regarding the question at issue, as it was fully treated in my letter, and I was decidedly unwilling 
to communicate any part whatever of my decision by word of mouth, or by any one's intervention, so 
as to avoid effectually all misunderstanding. 

Now, then, it becomes my duty to say that your answer is truly painful, especially to an envoy 
of the Holy Father, to whom you referred your case. The sad conviction forces itself on me that you 
disregard altogether Catholic principles, consequently that if you persist, it only remains for me to 
deplore the sad position in which you place yourselves in the face of the Church; but the responsi- 
bility of this rests entirely on yourselves. 

" ' Buffalo, October 26th, 1853. 

"'Archbishop of Thebes, Apostolic Nuncio.'" 


Whilst the great majority of St. Louis' congregation were, as Bishop Hughes stated, good, exem- 
plary Catholics, and were his joy and pride on his visitation to his diocese, yet there were also some 
evil-minded men in the congregation from the beginning. The second pastor, Father Pax, left them 
in disgust in 1840, and retired to Williamsville. Some members of his congregation had thrown large 
stones through the windows of his residence and endangered his life. He had also received threatening 
letters, which stated that if stones would not injure him they had bullets in reserve which might be 
used later. When the trouble broke out with Bishop Hughes, and later with Bishop Timon, these 
few evil-minded men were in their natural element and seemed to enjoy the disturbance they created. 
They were urged on also by like congenial spirits at Rochester, who were doing the same work, and 
who encouraged their Buffalo brethren to fight strenuously against the church authorities. It seems 
at this day that there must have been an infidel element amongst these Catholics who were creating 
all the disturbances. Father Krautbauer, who excommunicated the trustees of St. Peter's Church in 
Rochester, said that they were German Know-nothings ; and the Bishop of Buffalo might have been 
justified in saying the same of those who opposed his authority. One of the pastors of St. Louis' 
Church blamed preceding pastors for some of the trouble. Another pastor of St. Louis thought that 
the whole trouble arose from the fear that their church would be taken from them and given to the 

Whatever the cause the feeling was very bitter, and the presence of the Papal Nuncio did not seem 
to restore peace between the warring elements. A short time after his departure a picnic party, evi- 
dently composed of the trustees and their friends, marched down Main Street, bearing banners with 
inscriptions offensive to the Papal Nuncio. One inscription was "Where is Archbishop Bedini;" 
another motto was "Faith having nothing to do with temporalities we will not abandon to our bishop;" 
another was, "We maintained our civil rights and our bishop deprived us of all religious succor." 
There was certainly no Catholic spirit among men who would act in this manner. There was a bitter 
Know-nothing spirit throughout the country at that time; and there were many infidels and enemies 
of the Church, who were only delighted to encourage any spirit of schism or opposition to church 

These misguided spirits were, no doubt, encouraged, and were made to believe that they were 
struggling for the principle of right against domineering church authority. Bishop Timon dealt with 
them very gently and very mildly; and although he was obliged to interdict their church and finally 
excommunicated the trustees, yet these acts caused him more sorrow than they did to any one in the 
congregation. Many of them could not appreciate the mild and gentle charity of Bishop Timon, and 
it was only when they ran counter to the great Bishop Hughes that they realized that their position 
was untenable. They had prepared a petition which was introduced to the Legislature by Mr. Putnam, 
and tliis was accompanied with a draft of a bill intended to regulate the government of church property. 
Part of the petition was as follows: "The undersigned trustees and ex-trustees of St. Louis' Church 
beg to lay before the Legislature the following statement of facts." After reciting the history of St. 
Louis' Church up to the death of Bishop Dubois the petition continues: "Shortly after these events 
Bishop Hughes attempted to compel the trustees to convey the title of this church property to him." 
The trustees declined to yield and sent one of their members, Wm. B. Le Couteulx, to Cardinal For- 
nari, of Paris. He succeeded in this mission. No further efforts were made at the time by Bishop 
Hughes to disturb the title of the church. Subsequently the diocese was divided and those of Albany 
and Buffalo were erected. The title of the church was then vested in the trustees: Such are the 
unvarnished facts." Men who could present such a petition to such a solemn body as the Legislature 
of the Empire State could not have been in danger of nervous prostration. To make sure that their 
imposition would not be discovered they stated that these are unvarnished facts, whilst there must have 
been several very heavy coats of varnish covering all their statements. 

Archbishop Hughes was in Europe at the time ; and as soon as he returned he published a letter, 
giving the history of his connection with the case; and he did not deal very gently with the men who 
attempted to deceive the Legislature in regard to the discipline and rights of the Church in the State. 
He gave his reason for introducing to the Legislature the ordinance which was to regulate trustees in 
all the parishes of his diocese, and he corrected also the mis-statements of the trustees in their petition 
to the Legislature. Mr. W. B. Le Couteulx had boasted that this would be a battle between giants 
and pigmies, and Senator Babcock, Senator Putnam and himself were the giants, and Archbishop 
Hughes and Bishop Timon were evidently supposed to be the pigmies; but before he got through 
with Archbishop Hughes he evidently realized that a small mouse-hole would be too large to encompass 


his intellectual magnitude. He replied, in a manner, to Archbishop Hughes, making several other 
mis-statements and bad errors. Archbishop Hughes took all the conceit and spirit of controversy out 
of him in the following letter: (Freeman's Journal). 


More of the Difficulties of St. Louis' Church, Buffalo. 

Reply of Archbishop Hughes 
To William B. Le Couteulx, Esq. 

To the Editor of the New York Daily Times: 

Mr. Wm. B. Le Couteulx's letter, addressed to me, and published in the Buffalo Commercial 
Advertiser of the 5th inst., and copied into your paper of this date, requires some notice at my hands. 
I shall have no direct controversy with Mr. Wm. B. Le Couteulx. But I must begin by disclaiming 
any intention to injure "a reputation which he has acquired by the rectitude of his conduct, his manners, 
and his kind and upright disposition." This is the character which he claims for himself, and with 
which I have nothing to do. It would be well for him if he had economized his reputation and spared 
it as much as I have done. I have no unkind feelings towards him or towards any human being. 
But his own acts determine what he is without the slightest necessity for an imputation against it on 
my part. Besides, if he looks at the testimonies of certain journals, he will be satisfied that he never 
stood so high as he does at present in the estimation of the enemies of the Catholic Church, for the 
accomplishment of whose purposes, he and his colleagues have made themselves voluntarily and 
gratuitously the efficient implements. 

Mr. Le Couteulx assumes that I have branded him and his colleagues in the public prints as 
infidels and liars. I must beg leave to decline the authorship of such vulgar language. But if Mr. 
Le Couteulx adopts such epithets and applies them to himself and his associates, I cannot deny him 
the superior advantage of knowing whether they are truly applicable or not. I only disclaim having 
used or applied such terms, and throw back their authorship upon Mr. Wm. B. Le Couteulx. But I 
thank that gentleman for aiding me in establishing the triumph of truth over falsehood touching the 
difficulties between St. Louis' Church and myself. 

In the petition presented to the Legislature of New York, it is stated, "shortly after these events 
Bishop Hughes attempted to compel the trustees to convey the title of this church property to him. 
The trustees resisted firmly." To this statement the name of Mr. Le Couteulx is signed, among others, 
as a veracious witness. In the letter now before me I find the following statement: "It is true, sir, 
that you (Bishop Hughes) never demanded, that is to say, in express words, the title to our church 
property." This is signed as a veracious statement by Wm. B. Le Couteulx. These two statements 
from the same author contradict each other, and I choose to believe the statement in the letter, inasmuch 
as it is a substantial endorsement of what I had previously written — namely, that in the statement, of 
the petition there was not a sentence, or a word, or a syllable, or a letter of truth. In this Mr. Le 
Couteulx substantially agrees, when he says that I never demanded the title to the church property. 
But he goes on to say that if he and the trustees had acquiesced in the requirements of my pastoral 
letter, the whole of their property would have passed under my absolute control and dominion. This 
consequence was altogether a non sequitur. Other congregations acquiesced in those regulations, 
and yet continued in the undisturbed possession of their property, just as before. And I may as well 
observe here, that from the day on which the pastoral letter was published until the present hour, I 
have never asked, I have never accepted, I have never received one inch of church property from 
trustees, of any description. 

If Mr. Le Couteulx and his colleagues are so incapable of reasoning as to suppose thatJiieir 
compliance with a regulation of discipline, not touching on their vested rights in the least, was a 
transfer of their property, it furnishes an evidence of stupidity entirely unbecoming men of pretensions 
like theirs. But Mr. Le Couteulx himself has no confidence in this subterfuge, for he says : "If 
this argument of mine on your pastoral letter is not conclusive, what are we to think of the decree 
adopted in the synod of Baltimore in 1849 ?" of which he gives the words of the fourth article. 


Alas, how Mr. Le Couteulx must feel himself lowered down when he is obliged to quote as a pretext 
for the scliismatical course which he and his colleagues thought proper to adopt in 1842, an event 
which took place seven years afterwards. And this warrants him in saying, "Is not that article 
conclusive ? Does it not show plainly that you and Bishop Timon demanded our property ?" How 
manifestly it shows no such thing. 

First, because I (that is Bishop Hughes) had nothing to do with St. Louis' Church in Buffalo 
when that article was written in 1849. Secondly, because that article had no reference to any 
vested title in church property already existing, whether in trustees or otherwise. Thirdly, because 
Mr. Le Couteulx, or whoever translated the fourth statute, has perverted the meaning and falsified 
the text. The words of the statute, as it stands in Latin, are as follows, viz: — "Stahierunt Patres 
Ecclesiae omnes, ceteraque bona Ecclesiastica, quae vel dono, vel Fidelium oblationihus acquisita, in 
charitatis vel religionis operibus sunt impendenda, ad ordinarium pertinere; nisi appareat, scriptoque con- 
stet ilia ordini alicuiRegulari,velSacerdotumCongregationi in ipsorum usum,tradita fuisse." The trans- 
lation of which is simply this: "The Fathers have directed or ordained that all churches and other ec- 
clesiastical goods acquired by donation, or by the offerings of the faithful to be expended or employed 
in works of charity or of religion, belong to the ordinary, unless it appear and is made evident in writ- 
ing that such property has been given to some religious order or community of priests." The words 
which are suppressed in Mr. Le Couteulx's translation, and which show that this statute had a prospec- 
tive and not a retrospective bearing on the words, "Sunt impendenda" — "to be expended." It is 
singular how the translator should have omitted, by mistake, the only two words in the article which 
refute his interpretation of its meaning. Consequently, therefore, Mr. Le Couteulx is just as unfor- 
tunate in quoting this article as he is in making an event of the year 1849 a groundwork for what he 
and his colleagues had done in 1842. Mr. Le Couteulx now proceeds to controvert my statement vnth 
reo-ard to the unqualified and spontaneous submission of the trustees on my episcopal visit to Buffalo. 
It seems he has taken the pains to have them make aflidavit in regard to what occurred in the interview 
between them and me; and like sensible men, as they are, they first declare on oath that my statement 
is entirely and altogether incorrect as regards what one of them said respecting Mr. Le Couteulx having 
been their interpreter, and his having been deceiving them from the commencement, — that is, if my 
explanation of the meaning of the pastoral letter was correct. The public will be painfully amused at 
the reason which warrants them in declaring, under oath, that my statement is entirely and altogether 
incorrect. That reason is, that they do not even remember that Mr. Le Couteulx's name was once 
pronounced during said interview. Now, this only proves, on oath, that they have had bad memories, 
but it does not warrant them in stating that a thing did not occur simply because it has escaped their 
recollections. I made the statement because it was true; because I remember it distinctly. But, 
considering the position in which Mr. Le Couteulx finds himself, it is singular that he or his associates 
should deem it necessary to invoke the solemnity of an oath before a commissioner of deeds, and that 
the whole sum and substance of that oath amounts only to a declaration that they do not remember 
what occurred at the interview. Non mi ricordo. 

Mr. Le Couteulx reminds me that it was I who drew up the amende honorable, signed by the 
trustees, and published on the same day in the Buffalo Commercial Advertiser. This is true. But I 
will explain how it happened. The interview occurred on Saturday, after 12 o'clock. It lasted some 
time. The paper, it was said, was usually published at 2 o'clock. They were exceedingly anxious 
that I should open, and preach in St. Louis' Church on the following day (Sunday) ; I, on the other 
hand, had made known to them my determination never to open that church until they should first 
ask pardon of their fellow Catholics, of the diocese of New York and of the country, for the scandal 
wliich they had given. They attempted to draw up the formulary of a document to that effect. But 
their very anxiety to have it in time for the afternoon paper, disqualified them from writing it as hastily 
as they would wish. I witnessed what I considered to be at that moment their good Catholic dispo- 
sitions, and in order not to disappoint them in their hopes for the following day, I took the pen and 
drew the form of their apology, making it as little humiUating to them as possible. I saw that they 
would have signed a card reflecting upon themselves much more seriously for their past conduct; but 
I felt that it would be ungenerous and uncharitable on my part to take advantage of their disposition, 
by imposing on them anything that could be construed into an act of humiliation. 

Mr. Le Couteulx is very much surprised that Cardinal Fornari should never have spoken or 
written to me on the subject of St. Louis' Church, in Buffalo. However, the fact is as I have stated. 
No ecclesiastic in the Church, from the Pope downward, has ever spoken or written to me on the subject. 


What passed between Mr. Le Couteulx and the Nuncio, in Paris, I do not know, but when Mr. Le 
Couteulx stated in liis petition to the Legislature, that he had appealed to Cardinal Fornari, as a 
special deputy from the trustees of Buffalo, and that he had been "successful in his mission," he placed 
me under the necessity of showing that he was quite mistaken, and that there was not a word of truth 
in the pretended success of his mission. He says that he called upon me on his return immediately 
after liis arrival in New York; and that he wrote the next day to Nuncio Fornari, a faithful account 
of what had taken place between him and me during the brief interview. I should be very curious 
to see that letter, for I am at a loss to imagine what it could be made up of. I recollect well the sub- 
stance of what occurred in the interview. I received Mr. Le Couteulx as I would any other gentleman, 
if not cordially, at least courteously. He never told me that he had been on a mission to Cardinal 
Fornari, with a view to have my administration impeached or amended. But after the ordinary 
common-place, he proceeded to express his desire that the difficulties in BuflFalo might be brought to 
an end. I may here observe that, pending those difficulties, I had determined to have no quarrel or 
controversy with the recusant lay Catholics of St. Louis' Church. And as the best means of carrying 
out that determination, I had made it a rule to have no conversation with any irresponsible individual 
or solitary member of that congregation. When Mr. Le Couteulx, therefore, touched on the subject, 
I signified to him, in language as polite as the occasion would permit, that it was a subject on which 
I did not allow myself to converse with any unauthorized member of St. Louis' Church, and gave the 
conversation another turn, by asking what kind of a passage he had had, and whether the weather 
had been fine during the voyage. He says that now he sent a faithful account on the following day, 
of what took place; and since this is the amount of what really did take place. Cardinal Fornari must 
have found his letter exceedingly interesting. 

However, Mr. Le Couteulx seems to have been under some strange hallucination; for he asserts 
that my Episcopal visitation to Buffalo was just about two months after he had dispatched his letter, 
and corresponded to a nicety with the time when I should have had a letter from Cardinal Fornari in 
answer to his. Now, such reckoning as to time was fair enough. But the hallucination to which I 
refer consists in Mr. Le Couteulx's supposing that my visit to Buffalo was in consequence of the Nuncio's 
admonition; and as proof of this, he says that I went to Buffalo and settled everything with the trustees 
upon the publication of a card, showing that "you (Bishop Hughes) was right, and they (the trustees)- 
wrong." Mr. Le Couteulx knows that, as became my duty, I visited the different congregations of 
the diocese — that the Catholics of Buffalo were entitled to that visit, and that as to the schismatical 
trustees of St. Louis' Church, and their adherents, they were no longer numbered among my flock, 
except as wayward, self-willed, and erring brethren. I neither sought them out nor spoke of them. 
And I may say now that as the difficulty then stood, their church would have crumbled into dust, 
brick by brick, before I should have consented to give them a priest, or do any other act which should 
recognize the principle of their stupid resistance to episcopal authority. I did not address myself to 
the trustees. They, in language more than sufficiently humble and respectful, addressed themselves 
to me, begging that I would admit them to an interview. This I declined peremptorily, excepting 
on condition of their preparedness to come back to the starting point of their schism and to acknowledge 
themselves wrong in all their subsequent course. Still, poor Mr. Le Couteulx seems to have imagined 
that, because it was just two months from the time he wrote a letter to Cardinal Fornari, I must have 
received from that illustrious prelate an admonition to proceed to Buffalo and make my peace 
with the trustees on the best terms possible. In deahng with such a letter as the one I am now replying 
to, it is difficult for even pity to triumph over impatience. 

It is hardly worth while to be sorry at the ungenerous attack which Mr. Le Couteulx makes on 
the zealous and amiable Rev. Mr. Pax, the real builder of St. Louis' Church, Buffalo; for although 
he could not have built it out of his own funds, yet he wore himself down in toiling to obtain subscrip- 
tions for its erection. Nor would he have ever undertaken such a task, if he had not been assured 
by the venerable Bishop Dubois, that in his mission in Buffalo he would not be under the government 
of lay trustees. This assurance was made inasmuch as the respected and venerable father of Mr. 
Le Couteulx had given a deed of the property on which the church now stands, to the late Bishop 
Dubois, not dreaming that a number of laymen should, in the meantime, get themselves surreptitiously 
recognized as trustees of the same. Their treatment of Rev. Mr. Pax may be best ascertained from 
the letters he wrote to me complaining of their conduct, and giving facts and dates regarding what 
happened. I continued to encourage him, begging of him to bear everything for the sake of the poor 
people, assuring him of what was the fact, that if he left them, I had no German clergyman to put in 


his place. This, however, was long previous to the schism, inaugurated by Mr. Le Couteulx and his 
colleagues. Even that schism, however, did not authorize me as I thought to remove him; but when 
annoyances, and these arising from the rebelhous portion of his own flock, as was supposed even by 
the Buffalo editors at the time, reached a point of endangering his life, such as the huriing of large 
paving stones through his windows in the darkness of night, I could not in conscience require him to 
continue longer. Mr. Le Couteulx says that he carried away with him $6,000, which Mr. Le Couteulx 
describes as "a pretty fair compensation for so short a time of martyrdom." Mr. Le Couteulx must 
pardon me if I say candidly, that, although it may be true, yet I cannot believe this statement. Will 
he be pleased to make known his authority that Mr. Pax carried away $6,000! When he shall have 
stated the authority on which he makes this announcement, I shall take the Hberty of examining it, 
and I have no doubt it will prove as hollow as that on which he has made other statements. Mr. Le 
Couteulx concludes that in his opinion the great majority of CathoUcs in this country will rejoice if 
Hon. Senator Putnam's bill becomes a law. Now, as to the rejoicing of the Catholics, or a majority 
of them, that is a matter entirely extraneous from the subject in hand. One tiling is certain — that 
neither the great majority, nor the great minority of Catholics in this country, will ever select Mr. 
Wm. B. Le Couteulx as their spokesman. If they wish the aid of civil legislation in regulating the 
ecclesiastical matters of their church, they will make known their desire and express their wants in 
the language of respect and truthfulness which it becomes those who approach the Legislature of the 
State to employ. In the meantime, they feel wounded to think that whereas they had not made any 
complaint to the Legislature, that honorable body should feel itself warranted to thrust upon them a 
code of discipline wliich they do not desire, which has been founded on the misrepresentation of the 
trustees of St. Louis' Church, Buffalo; and sustained by the illiberal anti-Catholic feeling which now 
so unhappily prevails throughout the State. 

Finally, if Mr. Wm. B. Le Couteulx is now placed in a condition by no means flattering to his 
own estimate of his character, as possessing "a pure conscience ***** and a reputation which he 
has acquired by the rectitude of his conduct, his manners and his kind and upright disposition," he 
must hold himself, not me, responsible for the result. For the last twelve or thirteen years he and his 
colleagues have lost no opportunity of assailing me, assailing the bishop of Buffalo, assailing the prel- 
ates of the United States, sometimes directly, sometimes indirectly, by frequent injurious statements 
utterly unfounded in truth. This is the day of reckoning which he and his colleagues have brought 
upon themselves by the unwarrantable allegation of their petition to the Legislature. Having remained 
almost silent under such obloquy for these many years past, and having now at length taken my pen 
in hand, I wish Mr. Le Couteulx and his colleagues to bring out all they have to say, and I pledge 
myself, founding that pledge on the omnipotence and infallibility of truth, to continue from document 
to document to oppress them with its crushing weight. 

+ JOHN, Archbishop of New York. 

New York, April 7, 1855. 

Senator Babcock made a strong plea in the State Senate in favor of the bill placing church prop- 
erty in the absolute control of lay trustees. He made several mis-statements and misrepresented the 
position and authority of the Catholic Hierarchy, and assailed particularly Bishop Timon's relations 
with the trustees of St. Louis' Church. Bishop Timon was absent at the time, and upon his return 
he replied to the senator's speech through the Buffalo journals. His reply is given below. 


"Absence for some months, will account for so late a notice of the Hon. Mr. Babcock's speech 
on the 'Roman Catholic Church Property Bill.' Love for my country, which each absence increases, 
and regret that in an American Senate, an American Senator should, in malicious insinuations and 
sweeping denunciations, utter the oft refuted calumnies of by-gone years against the faith of many of 
his own constituents and against individuals, press me to offer some remarks to a generous public. 

"The Hon. Senator has indeed 'read history badly,' or he has only read such history as forced 
the count de Maistre to declare that, for nearly three hundred years, it had been 'a vast conspiracy 
against the truth.' Innocent the III, Gregory VII, Boniface VIII, were not bold, ambitious, unscrupu- 
lous men. Hutter, then a Protestant, in his 'Life and Pontificate of Innocent III,' and Vought, a 
Protestant and a German, in 'The Life and Pontificate of Gregory VII,' vindicate the character of 


those much calumniated Pontiffs. Voit, the eminent Protestant historian, shows Hildebrand, Gre- 
gory VII, to have been a truly meek and humble follower of the Redeemer, and calls him 'the savior 
of the liberties of Europe.' The character of Boniface VIII has been often and ably vindicated. Mr. 
Babcock assumes, as an undisputed fact, 'the encroachments of the ecclesiastical power upon civil 
rights,' yet he ought to know that the majority of christians consider their by-gone 'encroachments' 
to have been the encroachments of the civil, or rather of secular despotic power on Church rights. By 
the words 'Papel See,' Mr. Babcock evidently understands the Pope, the Papacy. Now, he must 
know that the vast majority of the christian world hold the Papacy not to be a human organization, 
'nor its agencies to have been for evil ;' he should also know that 'the Papal Dominion' held no posses- 
sions in England; then, indeed, the Church property was eminently English and popular, as proved, 
not long since, at the bar of the House of Lords; the canon law required the incumbents of Church 
property to divide the revenues thus : One-fourth for the clergy, one-fourth for the poor, one-fourth 
for hospitality, one-fourth for the public buildings. 

"Thus, also, 'the Papal Domination' holds no possessions in the United States; Roman Catholics 
indeed hold property. Church property, according to the rules and discipline which, they know, will 
best secure the safety of that property and the peace of congregations. The Hon. Senator may say, 
'I quote from such and such an historian,' but certainly, the Hon. Senator knows that the vast majority 
of christians tell a very different story. Who is to decide upon this question of truth, and upon other 
questions in which his assertion is contradicted by three-fourths of the christian world.'' Will the 
Senate summon distinguished clergymen on each side, hear them on oath, pass some years in reviewing 
their authorities, and then decide who is right and who is wrong ? If this can be done, why not leave 
controversy, either in strong unproved assertion, or in inferences and broad allusions, to scenes less 
dignified than an American Senate ? 

"How coolly the Hon. Senator informs the Legislature that 'under Henry VIII, the English 
exchanged one despot in Italy for another in Britain!' With what dogmatic assurance he makes the 
very erroneous assertion 'that the canon law was promulgated after the twelfth and fifteenth centuries, 
that it is utterly repugnant to civil liberty;' adding insult to his error when he says, 'I have not found 
it necessary to war against their faith, however erroneous I may deem it; if their practices tend to 
the subversion of our republican institutions and the destruction of true liberty, theirs is the offence, 
not mine." The Hon. Senator has indeed read history in vain, if he knows not that the faith which 
he attacks by such insinuations, molded the former despotic governments of the Old World to that 
high degree of freedom which they enjoyed before the Reformation. The Senator should know that 
when Luther began his sad work, there was not a despotic government, nor a standing army in Europe. 
He should know that then all the governments in Christendom were either republics or limited mon- 
archies, 'with parliament or courts as powerful,' says Macaulay, 'as any that ever sat in Westminster.' 
The Senator should know history before delivering lectures upon it in an American Senate. The 
Hon. Senator has also had the politeness to call names. Catholics are not Romanists. The Church 
of Rome is not in America, it is in Italy. There is no 'Roman Bishop' here. The Hon. Senator 
shows his learning in theology by informing the Senate that 'the canon laws are no part of the faith 
of the Roman Church at the present day.' But the Hon. Senator has forgotten to inform us when 
the faith of the Roman Church, 'at the present day,' changed from what it was in other days, or when 
laws regarding discipline, which may change, ever formed part of faith, which cannot change. 

"When uttering most erroneous statements, Mr. Babcock says: 'I am credibly informed, from 
the most respectable sources.' Yet the Hon. Senator has been publicly assured that his statements 
were not true, and has been called upon to prove them, or to name persons and places, that his state- 
ments may be disproved; but he is silent; the poisoned dart is cast, he cannot give proof; he must by 
this time know that he was cheated, but he skulks from manful assertion, or manful retraction. 

"In no church of Buffalo were the outer doors closed,and the people coaxed or coerced into signing 
the remonstrance against the bill ; the remonstrances were not 'manufactured in New York under the 
direction of Archbishop Hughes;' those from this city, for instance, were printed in Buffalo, at the 
Republic office. The Catholic body in this State would, in far greater number, come forward at any 
time to sign a remonstrance against such a bill. The Senator tells the Senate that 'Bishop Timon 
was consecrated in St. Louis' Church' and talks of a breach of faith on the bishop's part, against the 
rights of a church in which he was consecrated. Alas: for the Hon. Senator. Bishop Timon was 
consecrated in New York! He never received any sacred rite in St. Louis' Church: He has, indeed, 
celebrated the holy mass there; he has often administered the sacrament of confirmation there; he 


has preached for them ; he has labored hard to direct or prepare himself for all that was necessary to 
consecrate that church ; for two years he sought to save a worthy and large majority of that congrega- 
tion from the withering influence of a small minority, or rather of a few men who wish to be Catholics 
in faith, and Presbyterians in practice and discipline; but all this would not render the bishop worthy 
of 'impeachment' for not totally abandoning the discipline of this church to the mercy of such men. 
'When Bishop Timon was invited by the trustees of St. Louis' Church to consecrate it, he asked 
them 'if the deed was in the bishop's name ?' remarking that the decree of the Council of Baltimore 
prohibited him from consecrating any church the title of which was not in the bishop. The trustees 
assured him that the title was in the bishop, and to convince him, brought him an attested copy of the 
deed, which the bishop still holds. A few dates will now suffice to show Mr. Babcock how he has 
been deceived by an unhappy man, whose talent for misstatement is perhaps unrivaled: 

"Bishop Timon reached St. Louis' Church late at night, on the 22d of October, 1847. Whilst 
there, he was employed in giving directions, and preparing himself for the consecration of the church, 
and just stayed long enough to consecrate it, and to confirm two hundred and twenty-seven persons. 
The church was consecrated on the 21st of November, 1847. The bishop moved to St. Patrick's 
Church on the 23d of November, having stayed at St. Louis' Church about one month. 

"He who will compare these facts and dates with the statement of Mr. Babcock to the Senate 
and people of New York, cannot but deeply regret that the Hon. Senator should have lent the influence 
of his name and high station to calumny. 

'The worthy priest, who, in the new church of St. Michael, is still the honored pastor of a majority 
of the former congregation of St. Louis', left that church, bearing with him the blessed sacrament, 
when he was publicly insulted in it, menaced, and ordered by the daring minority to quit it. Can the 
bishop be blamed for not sending there another priest, when all who lived under the domination of the 
trustees either fled from it, declaring the post untenable, or importuned their bishop to deliver them 
from such tyranny ? Can the bishop be blamed for refusing to go to law even with a misguided por- 
tion of his flock, or for not urging his claims, valid or invalid, but donating lots and money to aid in 
building sheds in which the faithful portion of his flock may worship in peace ? Can the bishop be 
blamed for refusing his services to men who refuse to accept his terms ? Is the bishop bound by any 
law to guide men who refuse to be guided by him ; but who call that right which he calls wrong, and 
that wrong which he calls right ? Would not a bishop of the Protestant Episcopal Church refuse to 
sanction sacred rites in a church in which a minority, after insulting their pastor, and chasing him 
away, repudiated the discipline of the Church to which they belong ? 

"I need scarcely say that the touching jeremiad of the Senator 'is all a farce.' Those Germans 
who really wish to be Catholics and hear mass, have now, as formerly, all the sacraments administered 
to them. Those who wish to be Catholics according to their own rule, still go to St. Louis' Church, 
and make the prayers that suit them. 

"Mr. Babcock is equally unfortunate in all his operations; it is not true that 'through the inter- 
vention of Cardinal Fornasi, the Pope's Nuncio at Paris, Mr. Lecouteulx succeeded in his mission. 
But it is true that the trustees begged pardon of Bishop Hughes, promised amendment, and obtained 
forgiveness for their reckless and insulting conduct. 

"The Senator says: 'In France, for instance, the Church property is held by the municipal 
council, composed exclusively of laymen.' Alas, here again the same evil genius was at the Senator's 
elbow, to tell him what is not true. In France, no parish church or its property is held under the name 
of a municipal council, or of a corporation, or of a layman : Permit me to cite a little of French law ; 
the French text will be at the Senator's service at any time : 

"In 1801 a concordat was made between France and the Holy See; the twelfth article reads thus: 
'AH metropolitan, cathedral, and parochial churches, and all other churches necessary for worship, 
shall be delivered up to the care of the bishop.' This law remains in force to this day, in that part of 
Catholic Europe which was affected by the French revolution. 

"On the 18th June, 1827, a concordat was made between the King of Belgium and the Holy See. 
The first article is: 'Art. 1. The concordat of 1801, between the Sovereign Pontiff and the French 
government, being now in force in the southern provinces of Belgium, shall henceforward apply also 
to the northern provinces.' 

"In the French decree concerning iesFafenq^Mes, passed 30tli December, 1809, we find: 'Of Sales,' 
'Article 1. The aberration of Church property cannot be valid, unless authorized by the Emperor, 
(King, etc., as rulers changed,) and by the Bishop, the administrator ex officio of Church property.' 


"Sec. 2. Art. 1. The council of administration of a church shall watch over the preservation 
and repairs of the church, and administer the revenues. In parishes of more than five thousand 
population, there shall be nine councilors; the bishop will name five and the prefect four; in parishes 
of less than five thousand souls, there will be only five councilors; the bishop will appoint three, the 
prefect two. The pastor of the church shall always, ex offaio, be the first member of the council ; he 
may depute his vicar to fill his place. The council shall name the 'marguilliers,' (acting trustees.) 
Vacancies that occur will be filled by a majority of the council; if they neglect this for one month, 
the bishop must then name to the vacancy.' 

"Americans would perhaps only pity the Hon. Senator for his gullibility in believing the statement 
of 'his respectable informant' in French law. But deeply mortified will the candid American be, 
when he finds the same Senator mistaking the laws of our own country, in order to satisfy those bigoted 
feelings to which he well alludes when he says: 'As a private citizen and a Protestant, I may have 
a duty to perform in regard to the growth of Romanism, very wide of that incumbent upon a legislator.' 
What sort of a duty he may have to perform, Mr. Babcock says not. It may not be to burn our con- 
vents, as in Philadelphia; still he may have a duty to perform in regard to the rapid growth of Roman- 

"If Mr. Babcock had studied the law which he read in the Senate, he must have seen that the 
clause first enacted forms a Church government merely human, (the pastor having of right no more 
to do with the trustees than the man in the moon.) Other societies were not satisfied. The Protestant 
Episcopal Church obtained a special enactment, declaring that the pastor of the church, is, ex officio, 
member and president of the board of trustees. Other churches, too, claimed exemption from that 
ultra-human form. 

"The Reformed Dutch Church obtained this concession: 'Be it enacted, that the minister or min- 
isters, and elders and deacons, of every Reformed Dutch church or congregation, now or hereafter to be 
established in this State, shall be the trustees for every such church or congregation.' Even the Presby- 
terians found themselves aggrieved by the earlier act; hence, in 1822, they obtained this exemption: 
'Be it enacted, that the minister or ministers, and elders and deacons, of every Reformed Presbyterian 
church, now or hereafter to be established within this State, shall be the trustees of every such church 
and congregation.' In 1825, the 'True Reformed Dutch Church' obtained the same favor. 

"Roman Catholics can only incorporate by a clause so ultra-Presbyterian, that even Presby- 
terians have asked and obtained laws to exempt them from its rigor. To the honor of the legislators 
who passed it, we may say that it was never intended for Catholics, (Catholics were then but a handful; 
the law seems to ignore their very existence,) no oflacer of their Church is once designated. The Hon. 
Senator says: 'Full ninety-nine hundredths of all the religious societies in the State are organized 
under the provisions of this law.' Is this an evasion, or special pleading ? Under the clause against 
which the Catholics protest, it will be fair to say that only a small minority of the religious societies 
are incorporated. Take away the Protestant Episcopal Church, the Reformed Presbyterian Church 
the Reformed Dutch Church, the True Reformed Dutch Church, and see if 'ninety-nine hundredths 
of the religious societies of the State are organized' under the form which aggrieves the Catholics. 

"The Hon. Senator says that 'the Senator from the 11th, and others in and out of the Senate, 
claim that the Reformed Dutch Church has similar powers, and is a close corporation.' He is wholly 
mistaken; the constitution of that Church provides for the election of the elders and deacons by the 
body of the church, and for certain periods. But as regards the point at issue, either the Hon. Senator 
does not know what law is, or, in his high office of Senator, he descended to special pleading to mislead 
the Senate. 

"Men who would vote for an individual to be trustee, would not afterwards refuse a vote to the 
same person were he a candidate for a spiritual office. Through an error, repugnant to the legislation 
of the Holy Scriptures and to the experience of man, many unthinking persons consider the church 
edifice and the revenues of the church as entirely distinct from the church in its spiritual character. 
In vain do we tell them that they might as well consider the body, its nourishment, its functions, and 
its actions, as entirely distinct from the soul. In vain do we show them how, by God's eternal law, 
the soul acts on the body, and the body and the functions of the body have their powerful infiuence 
on the soul. In vain do we show them that to legislate for the human body, because it is fiesh, as 
you would legislate for the animal body, which is also flesh, would be enslaving the immortal spirit: 
still they affect to consider the church, not as the house of God, but as the house of Mr. Somebody, 
whom they represent, and the church revenues, not as something consecrated to God, and belorgiiig 


to Him, but as something belonging to them and their's. Such persons will vote for Mr. B. as a trustee, 
because he is a very clever fellow; for Mr. C, because he is a great financier; for Mr. D., because 
he is a good Democrat, etc. Ask their vote to elect the same person into some known spiritual office, 
and they will shrink from the proposal. 

"The Hon. Senator gives us extracts from the canon law which go most strongly to prove that 
the bishops, and at least ninety-nine hundredths of the Catholics in the United States, know and act 
according to the principles of their Church, and that Mr. Lecouteulx and a very small minority, who 
care little for sacraments or discipline, neither know nor act according to the religion they pi'ofess. I 
do not here seek to prove that the Catholics are right, and that Mr. Babcock's religion is wrong. I 
merely say that Mr. Babcock's extracts, proving that the bishops and the priests are right in their 
construction of the laws and discipline of their churches, prove also that they are worthy of praise, 
and not of blame, when they peacefully withdraw from men who do not believe as they do, and abandon 
the church edifice and its prospects, rather than go to law or act against their conscience. 

"How different from Mr. Babcock's were the sentiments of the honored men who legislated for 
New York near the time of the heroes and sages of our Revolution : The very act passed 6th of April, 
1784, which enacts the clause against which alone Catholics protest, says : 'It is ordained and declared 
that the free exercise and enjoyment of religious profession and worship, without discrimination or 
preference, be enjoyed by all religious denominations.' On the 7th of March, 1788, the New York 
Legislature passed the law which now figures as one of the clauses of the present law. The preamble 
is as follows: 'Whereas, by the usage of the religious societies commonly known by the appellation 
of the Reformed Dutch Churches, the minister or ministers, and elders and deacons for the time being, 
have the management of the temporalities of the respective congregations, and the said congregations 
cannot therefore avail themselves of the benefit intended by the 'act to enable all the religious denomina- 
tions in the State to appoint trustees, etc.,' without departing from such usage which has been long 
established, therefore, be it enacted, etc' Then follows the law which constitutes the offices in the 
spiritual order, and their successors in that order, trustees to manage the temporalities. On the 17th 
of March, 1795, a law passed exempting the Protestant Episcopal Church from the rigor of the law 
of 1784. But let us hear the very words of the Protestant Church and of the Legislature: 'Whereas, 
the Protestant Episcopal Church in this State hath represented that the 'act to enable all the religious 
denominations in this State to appoint trustees,' passed 6th April, 1784, directs a mode of incorpora- 
tion which subjects it to a variety of difficulties, leaving the congregations not incorporated to the 
alternative of foregoing the benefit of incorporation, or suhmitting to an entire alteration and sub- 
version of the usual and peculiar government of the respective congregations of said Church; for remedy 
whereof. Be it enacted, etc' Then follows that which now stands as a clause of the law of our present 
Digest or Revisions. 

"In that of 1784, against which Catholics, like the respectable Protestants above cited, protest, 
for the very same reason, because they cannot use it 'without an entire alteration and subversion of 
the usual and peculiar government of the respective congregations of said Church. That law of 
1784, which ignores the existence of the Roman Catholic Church and of its ministers, terminates with the 
noble and generous proviso, which, if it have not the power of law in the book, will, I am sure, in every 
generous heart, be a law to give to Catholics that relief which Protestants claimed and obtained. 'Be 
it further enacted, etc., that nothing herein contained will be construed, adjudged, or taken to abridge 
or affect the rights of conscience, or private judgment, or in the least to alter or change the religious 
constitution or government of either of the said churches, congregations or societies, so far as respects, 
or in any wise concerns, the doctrines, discipline, or worship thereof.' 



Archbishop Bedini had left the decision of St. Louis' Church case to Bishop Timon, and the 
bishop could not bring the trustees to a sense of their duty. After consulting with his councilors he 
issued against them a sentence of excommunication. This was in June, 1854. About one year later 
Father Wenninger, a Jesuit missioner, requested permission to open St. Louis' Church, and to give 
a mission for the good people of that congregation. Bishop Timon readily consented, and in June, 
1855, the interdict was removed, and the Jesuit missionary began the task of restoring this congrega- 
tion to the diocese. The church trouble practically ceased after this mission, although for some years 
there were some misunderstandings and some bickerings, but there was no open opposition. Wise 
and prudent pastors have done much to restore the confidence of the people, and it is now one of the 


most loyal parishes in the diocese. The present generation should know nothing of these troubles; 
but they form a part of the history of those times, and they could not be omitted without suppressing 
facts that played an important part for many years in the history of the Church in Buffalo. 

The trustees could offer only two plausible pleas for their opposition to church discipline, and 
neither one of these reasons was in existence at the beginning of the trouble; but in the course of the 
many arguments and recriminations they arose from the bishop's dealings with the trustees. The 
first was the removal of the trustees by the bishop. Bishop Timon arbitrarily dismissed five of the 
trustees of St. Louis' Church. They were certainly unfit for the office; but according to the charter, 
to which they constantly appealed, they believed that they should not be dismissed except by a vote 
of the congregation which possessed their appointing power. The bishop acted in good faith in tliis 
matter; and hebeheved that it was in the interests of that particular congregation, and of the Church in 
the diocese of Buffalo, that these trustees should be removed and others selected in their place. He 
had removed trustees of St. Mary's Church in Rochester in a similar manner; but there was no rebel- 
lion in that congregation on account of the bishop's apparently arbitrary act, and the removal of those 
trustees had a beneficial effect in that congregation. 

The other plausible reason that the trustees of St. Louis' Church could adduce for their opposition 
to Bishop Timon, was that he wished to hand their church over to the Jesuits ; and this, as they 
believed, meant the destruction of their charter of incorporation. The bishop had been striving from 
his advent in the diocese to obtain priests for liis many parishes. German priests were especially 
needed. He was often obliged to send some of his few German priests from one parish to another, 
allowing them to remain a week, and sometimes two or three weeks, in one parish, instructing the 
people and preparing them for the sacraments, because he did not have a sufficient number to allow 
resident priests for all the German parishes. The Jesuits offered their services to the bishop; and 
he was very much pleased to think that he could secure a sufficient number of German priests for 
the largest German congregation in his diocese; and the bishop did not think and did not care, what 
incorporation St. Louis' Church had if they could be good and obedient Catholics. His idea, there- 
fore, in giving the Jesuits charge of St. Louis' Church was merely to supply them with a sufficient 
number of German priests. If the Jesuits required the St. Louis' Church property to be transferred 
to their order that was a matter to be settled between the trustees and the Jesuits. 

Bishop Timon's gentleness finally triumphed over the opposition, and his most bitter opponent in 
this trouble was very glad to have the bishop come to console him in his last hours. Mr. W. B. Le 
Couteulx died on July 18, 1859, and it was Bishop Timon who administered the last sacraments to 
him and gave him the last blessing. 

The following document, which will conclude the series, shows how seriously Bishop Timon 
considered the difficulty which existed between himself and the trustees of St. Louis' Church: 

"Buffalo, June 22nd, 1854. 

In the name of God, the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, to whom I consecrate my life, each hour 
of my life and the hour of my death, imploring them for mercy. 

At the recommendation of Father Weniger, whose scanctity I respect, in the presence of Rev. L. 
Caveng, I determined to excommunicate the trustees of St. Louis' Church, if my council would also 
recommend it. I assembled the council at a time when I expected Father O'Reilly. He did not 
come until after the council. He then approved their unanimous advice to excommunicate. I read 
to my council a form I had prepared. They proposed some amendments, all tending to make it stronger. 
I thought them just and approved them and ordered them to be printed, only adding what it seemed 
made my duty to do so more obvious, allusion to an article of the trustees which had appeared after 
the council. I think that I have done nothing but my duty. I beg pardon of God and man for any 
want of meekness or prudence that I may have possibly committed in this sad affair. Conscious that 
my life is in danger, I also here ratify my last testament which I leave in the hands of Most Rev. Dr. 
Hughes, a copy of which is with my papers. 

For my successor I name Rev. M. McFarland of Utica, or Rev. M. Mullen of Pittsburg diocese, 
or Rev. E. Purcell of Cincinnati. 


Bishop of Buffalo." 

This was sealed and marked in the bishop's hand-writing as the last will of Bishop Timon. 



BHEN Bishop Timon came to the diocese of Buffalo there was only one institution in the 
vast extent of territory under his jurisdiction. This was the orphan asylum at Rochester, 
which had been started in 1841 under a board of lay managers This was incorporated 
in 1845 with nine trustees. As soon as Bishop Timon had a little rest from his labors in 
his new field he hastened to Baltimore to secure the sisters for the institutions he wished to 
establish in his new diocese. His first care was for the orphans. The residence adjoining St. Patrick's 
Church, which had been the property of Father Whalen, was turned over to the sisters for an 
orphan asylum. Six sisters came in June, 1848, and immediately began the work of caring for the 
few orphans who formed a nucleus of St. Vincent's Orphan Asylum. The charity and forethought 
of the bishop were evident the following year. Cholera devastated tliis city in 1849, and left many 
homes desolate and many orphans who would be without homes had the asylum not been already 
opened to receive them. As the number of orphans increased the girls were sheltered at the asylum 
adjoining St. Patrick's Church, and the boys were housed for a time in a building on Niagara Street. 
In 1850 the bishop bought several acres of land at Lancaster. Here he had a plain brick structure 
erected, and he secured some macliinery, hoping to teach the boys useful trades. He intended to make 
this an industrial home for boys as well as an asylum for orphans. He had obtained some French lay- 
brothers who managed the institution; but it did not seem to thrive, and four years later it was 
removed to Best Street, Buffalo. The boys from the orphan asylum at Rochester were also sent to 
the institution at Lancaster, and they formed one body with the orphans from Buffalo until the diocese 
was divided. This institution was removed to Limestone Hill in August, 1856, and here they 
started their industrial school and orphan asylum in a little frame building. Tliis has grown 
to vast proportions, and now it is an institution that is well and favorably known throughout the 
United States. 

Another asylum for boys was started in Rochester in 1864, on South Street, near St. Mary's Church. 
In 1868 the old Homestead Hall, on West Avenue, was used for this purpose. A German orphan 
asylum was started in 1863, upon Andrew Street, in a Uttle frame house. 

When Bishop Timon had provided for the orphans his next care was for the sick; and at the same 
time that he secured the sisters for the orphan asylum he gave some of them charge of a hospital. He 
bought the Buffalo orphan asylum property, with the intention of establishing there a hospital for the 
sick. This was a large brick building, which was formerly used as a military academy; and it was 
situated on what is now called Pearl Place, but the entrance was from Main Street, a few doors above 
St. Louis' Church. The same forethought of the bishop was evident in the establishment of an hos- 
pital as was manifested in the opening of the orphan asylum. A few months after the opening of the 
hospital the ravages of the cholera brought a number of patients to the hospital of the Sisters of 
Charity. There was no other hospital at the time in Buffalo that could properly look after this class 
of patients; and the Sisters' Hospital merited the gratitude of the citizens of Buffalo for their efficient 
work during the cholera epidemic. The bishop started St. Mary's Hospital, at Rochester in 
1857. Three Sisters of Charity came that year, and opened an hospital in a large stone building 
on West Avenue. A new building was begun the same year, and was finished in the year 

When the bishop was in Europe in 1849, and again in 1854, he inspected all the charitable institu- 
tions in France, in Italy and in Austria, that he thought would be useful or beneficial in his diocese. 
Amongst others he was impressed with the work of the Good Shepherds, and he urged them to come 
to America to estabhsh a community in his diocese. They came in July, 1855, and they started in a 
three-story rented house on EUicott Street. Later they occupied two houses adjoining the French 
Church, on Washington Street. They moved afterwards to their present location on Best Street, where 
they occupy eight acres of land which were given to them by Bishop Timon. 




..j£y^ J! 




(The late) Rev. J. J. ARENT. 




(The late) Rhy. INNONEZ SAGER. 


Rev. FRANCIS SCHLEB, Langford. 

ST. MARTIN'S CHURCH, Langford. Erected 1903. 


Rev. CONRAD KAELIN, East Eden. 

Replaced by New Edifice, 1903. 



Rev. frank MEYER, Portageville. 


Kev. H J LAUDENBACH. North Java. 


AND RECTORY, North Java. 







Rev. T, p. MULLANEY, formerly Pastor at Lewiston. 


Rev. M. DYMINSKI, Niagara Falls. 

Rev. C. D. MEALLI, Rector St Joseph's Church, 
Niagara Falls. 

Rev. Cajetan Labusinski, Rector. 



Ill Hi J; I 




Rev.JNO. F. FARRELL, Chaplain, 

Soldiers and Sailors Home, 





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Elmira, Rev. Jno. C. Long, Rector. 



ST. MARY'S CHURCH AND RECTORY, Horseheads, Rev. M. C. Wall, Rector. 










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Mr. Le Couteulx had donated a plot of ground on Louis Street (1). The foundUng asylum had 
been connected with the hospital previous to 1853. In this year the bishop secured three cottages, 
which had been occupied by the Sisters of the Sacred Heart, and they were moved on to this plot of 
ground, and here the Foundling Asylum was estabUshed. A new building was started in the following 

Bishop Timon felt that the deaf mutes needed more care and attention than were given to them 
bythe dioceses of the United States. They were a helpless class;and very few bishops providedfor, or 
made efforts to instruct them. When he was visiting Dubhn he advised the church authorities there 
to establish an institution for the instruction of deaf mutes. He was very much pleased some years 
later, when he again visited Ireland, to find that his words of advice had borne fruit. He found there, 
on his second visit, a flourishing institution. An institution of this kind, for his own diocese, was his 
early and earnest desire. He induced Mr. Le Couteulx to give some land for tliis purpose; and in 
1856, he moved the three cottages across Edward Street for his proposed deaf mute institute. The Sis- 
ters were ready for the work, but they had no subjects; so they started a day school in the cottages, to 
provide themselves with support and occupation until deaf mute pupils should come. The next year 
they had four deaf mute girls, as the first pupils for the institution. Like all of Bishop Timon's chari- 
table institutions this one grew in popularity and prosperity until it now is one of the great institutions 
of the diocese. 

Bishop Timon had provided now for the helpless orphan, for the abandoned, for the wayward, 
for the sick, for the deaf mutes, and now he wished to provide for the old. In 1861 he secured some 
Sisters of St. Francis, whose vocation it was to look after the sick and the aged. When they first came 
to Buffalo they visited and nursed the sick and old people in their homes. Later they bought property 
on Pine Street and started the Home for the Aged. 

Bishop Timon, in those few years, had provided institutions and homes for all the helpless 
classes of humanity. There was no class of helplessness or misfortune that did not appeal to him. 
The establishment of these several institutions, in the few years, revealed the remarkable charity and 
zeal of the saintly first bishop of Buffalo. 

(1) This was afterwards changed to Edward St., and Mr. Le Couteulx complained very bitterly of the change. 
He had owned most of the property on this street, and he gave much of it to charity. He had the street named in 
honor of his father and of himself. He had given the property on which the Buffalo Orphan Asylum is located, for a 
general asylum for orphans, irrespective of nationality or creed; but it had been changed to a distinctly Protestant 
institution. The donor, Mr. Louis Le Couteulx, complained very bitterly of this change. 



illSHOP TIMON'S first care when he came to the diocese was directed towards the formation 
of parocliial schools in the parishes in which they did not exist, and for the betterment of 
those that were already established. There was only one religions community of sisters 
in the diocese at that time, and these were laboring in only one parish. Many of the parishes 
maintained little schools that were taught occasionally by lay teachers whenever the parish 
could afford to engage them. The bishop endeavored to secure religious teachers, for all the larger 
schools, because they could devote their full time to teaching and they would not be so expensive as 
the lay teachers. Shortly after his advent he secured sisters for the school at St. Patrick's Church 
and also for the orphans. 

Bishop Timon desired to secure higher education for the young ladies who could spend the time 
in acquiring a knowledge of the higher subjects taught in academies, and who could afford to pay 
something towards their instructions. With this object in view he induced the ladies of the Sacred 
Heart, at Manhattanville, to establish a house of their order in Buffalo. They came in 1849 and opened 
an academy in the Sherwood house. Here they remained for three years when they found the expense 
of this large establishment greater than their income, and as the bishop had by this time secured the 
Webster property on the Terrace he gave the use of a frame building on this property to the Sisters for 
their academy. They remained here about one year when they removed to the Gates homestead on 
Delaware Avenue, corner of Allen Street. One year later they decided to remove their academy to 
Rochester, because the field for their particular vocation was more promising in the city on the Genesee. 

The bishop was anxious to give the young men all the advantages of a higher education, and he 
started a high school, which was dignified by the name of college, on Niagara Street near Main Street, 
in the year 1850. This was incorporated under the title of St. Joseph's College, in the year 1851. The 
staff of professors consisted principally of the priests connected with St. Patrick's Church, and the 
bishop. In the years of the cholera the professors could devote no time to their classes, and the bishop 
was too busy to give any lectures in the college course. Under those conditions the college could not 
prosper, and the only branch of the college course that was preserved from the wreck was the classical 
department for ecclesiastical students. The bishop removed this department to his own residence ; and 
here, with the assistance of one or two priests, he taught the two or three students who formed the 
beginning of his diocesan seminary. The bishop had two students at St. John's College, Fordham, 
but Bishop Hughes notified him that he should remove these at the end of the scholastic year of 1850. 
In the fall of 1850 the bishop had four students studying for the priesthood; in his own residence on 
EUicott Street. 

The bishop had been negotiating with the Oblates for the establishment of a house of their order 
in the diocese of Buffalo. This order had several successful colleges, taught by their members ; and the 
bishop hoped that along with their proposed house they would also establish a college for the young 
men desirous of studying for the ministry. The bishop secured the poor-house property, on Porter 
Avenue in 1851, and this property he turned over to the Oblates, on condition that they would establish 
on it a seminary for ecclesiastical students. The seminary struggled along for a few years, under 
adverse conditions until 1855, when the ojBBcials of the college decided that it was a losing venture, and 
they gave up the task of educating young men for the ministry. The students then returned to the 
bishop's residence, and here they were again taught by the priests connected with the Cathedral parish. 

Bishop Timon was not discouraged by these seeming failures, but he renewed his efforts to estab- 
lish a seminary on a grander scale. He turned to the members of his own order, and he induced the 
Rev. J. V. Lynch, C. M., to establish an institution on the banks of the Niagara for the education of 
young men. Father Lynch bought a large tract of land in 1855 ; and, in an old inn, he laid the foundation 
of the seminary of Our Lady of Angels. This institution was successful from the beginning, and every 
year it has grown in fame and usefulness until it has thousands of graduates in the different callings 


of life scattered through most of the States of the Union. About the same time that Bishop Timon 
was negotiating with the Lazarists he was also offering inducements to the Franciscans to establish a 
house of their order in his diocese. He needed more priests, and he needed more professors for the 
college and seminary courses of learning. He hoped that the Franciscans would furnish both. Mr. 
J. C. Devereaux owned a vast tract of land in Cattaraugus and Allegany counties, and on this he hoped 
to establish a Catholic community. There were some Catholics already established there, and Mr. 
Devereaux hoped to induce the Irish Franciscans to establish a church in this locality. He offered 
them a large sum of money and a tract of land to establish a house of their order and a church for the 
people in the district near Ellicottville. When Bishop Timon was in Rome, in 1855, he placed the 
proposition made by Mr. Devereaux before the head of the Franciscan Order at Rome. The propo- 
sition was favorably received ; and a colony of the order came that year and established their dwelling 
in a house at Ellicottville, and here they started their college. A short time later they removed to 
Allegany on the Allegany River, a few miles from Olean. Here their college and seminary grew up 
and became prosperous and famous. Every year they turn out many students who reflect credit upon 
the teaching of their Alma Mater by their learning and successful careers. 

When the efforts to establish a St. Joseph's college failed. Bishop Timon turned his thoughts to 
the great teaching body, the Jesuits. He needed the Jesuits for a church, and he needed them for a 
college. He was obliged to start another German church in the vicinity of St. Louis' congregation, 
and the Jesuits could give him a number of able and zealous men. He had secured property on Wash- 
ington Street for the purpose of establishing there his cathedral, but when he changed his choice to 
the Terrace locality he decided to give the Washington Street site to the Jesuits for their college and 
church. The corner-stone of the institution was laid the 20th of August, 1851. The college grew 
gradually in favor, and now it is one of the most popular institutions of learning for young men in the 

The bishop had always sought to secure the Christian brothers. They finally came in the fall 
of 1861, and established their residence on the property adjoining the cathedral. Here they revived 
St. Joseph's College, and carried on the work successfully for many years. With some changes of 
locality, and one or two years' intermission, they have continued until at present they have apparently 
taken a new lease of life and entered upon a new career of prosperity in a prominent locality on Main 

The bishop secured a Canadian order of Grey Nuns for an academy for young ladies. They came 
in 1857, and established their academy in a rented building on Niagara Street, in September, 1861. 
Later they removed to their splendid site on Porter Avenue, where they continue their good work of 
teaching all the branches that make up the education of Catholic young ladies who complete their 
course of academic training. 

Another teaching order of ladies came to the diocese about the same time as the Grey Nuns They 
came from their house at Cleveland, and they are commonly called the "Nardin's" from the name of 
their superior. They were the ladies of the Sacred Heart of Mary, and they established a school for 
higher education on Seneca Street, in the year 1855. They later removed to Pearl Street, south of 
Seneca Street. They changed again to Ellicott Street near South Division Street. They finally 
established their academy at their present location on Franklin Street, adjoining the cathedral. Here 
they have continued for many years, graduating young ladies in all the higher branches of learning, 
and fitting them for careers which are a credit to their institution and an honor to the church. 

Bishop Timon took very active interest in the establishment of the American college at Rome. 
Many of the other bishops were also laboring for this object, but Bishop Timon resolved to have an 
American college there whether the other bishops succeeded or not. He pleaded strenuously with the 
members of his own order to establish a college there for American students. He, no doubt, would have 
succeeded if the project of the other bishops had failed. When he saw that the establishment of a 
general college was assured he gave up the project of starting one under the direction of his own order. 

In a few years Bishop Timon saw all classes of people in his diocese well provided for in the matter 
of education. There were schools and good teachers for the children in the parishes. There were 
high schools for the use of youths, and there were two prosperous seminaries for ecclesiastical students. 
No diocese in the United States was better supplied in those days with educational facilities than the 
diocese of Buffalo. 



j HEN Bishop Timon came to Buffalo there were only two or three buildings in the diocese 
that could be dignified with the title of churches. There were seven or eight other frame 
or log buildings that were used for, holding services and they were known as churches ; 
but they were only temporary structures which were to be replaced by more substantial 
buildings. There was only one institution in the diocese. This was the orphan asylum 
at Rochester, which was also in its incipient state. 

Bishop Timon boarded for a short time with the pastor of St. Louis' Church, and then he took 
up his residence with the pastor of St. Patrick's Church on Ellicott Street. With the great need for 
all the institutions that are necessary in a complete diocese it seemed extravagant to even dream of a 
cathedral. Bishop Timon, however, was a man of wonderful zeal and extraordinary energy. He 
had an unbounded faith in the providence of God, and tireless energy and ambition to establish all 
institutions necessary for his diocese, and also to erect a magnificent cathedral, which would be a credit 
to his people and an ornament to the City of Buffalo. His first care was for the sick and the orphans. 
When these were provided for he turned his attention to the cathedral. Very few men would think 
for a moment of starting a work like the magnificent cathedral at Buffalo, with such limited resources 
as Bishop Timon could command during the first few years of his residence at Buffalo. The people 
were poor, and they had no churches or schools in their parishes ;and they must build these before they 
could think of contributing towards a cathedral. Bishop Timon's vision was not limited by the con- 
fines of the diocese, nor was his labor restricted by the territory assigned to his jurisdiction. He was 
known all over the United States as well as in Buffalo, and he soon became known in Europe almost 
as well as he was known in the United States. When he visited Europe, the second year after his 
consecration, he studied the beautiful forms of Gothic architecture of the cathedrals of France, of 
Germany, of Austria and of Italy. He, no doubt, got inspirations from the graceful outlines of these 
beautiful buildings, and he hoped some day to see a beautiful Gothic Cathedral in his own See City 
of Buffalo. At his first interview with the Holy Father he expressed this hope to his Holiness, and 
Pius the IX was so impressed with the earnest zeal of the holy bishop that he gave him the first con- 
tribution to St. Joseph's Cathedral, which was a gift of $2,000.00 in gold. Shortly after the bishop's 
return from Europe he laid his plans before Mr. Keely (l), the architect, of Brooklyn, and commis- 
sioned him to draw the plans for St. Joseph's Cathedral. 

Mr. Keely had but recently drawn up the plans for the beautiful Cathedral of the Immaculate 
Conception, at Albany; and the graceful lines of the interior, no doubt, convinced Bishop Timon of 
the talent and taste of the architect, and he decided that this was the man to carry out his ideas in 
the construction of his Buffalo Cathedral. 

The bishop had bought a plot of land on Washington Street upon which he intended to build his 
cathedral. The Terrace section of the city at that time was very attractive and was the central portion 
of the desirable resident district of the city. There was a very attractive, property at the corner of 
Franklin and Swan streets, which was known as "Webster's Gardens." The bishop at several times 
admired the location, and, as it was offered for sale, he began negotiations for its purchase. He was 
very much pleased when he succeeded in securing the land, and here he resolved to build his 

He had the plans and he had the ground, but he had no money. He had numerous friends, how- 
ever, and he had unlimited confidence in the providence of God. The following appeal was issued 
in 1851: 

(1) The building of beautiful churches was for Mr. Keely more a labor of love than a matter of business. The 
bishops of the United States bought a fine home for him in Brooklyn. 



Uplift the dome for holy praise ! Within the aisles, soon broadly spread, 

Rear the rich sculptured column high ! By the tall pillars, row on row. 

And let the spire its finger raise Crowds of God's worshippers shall tread 

In love or warning to the sky ! And, Lord, to Thee, their homage show. 

On with the work! let liberal hands And, at the altar richly reared, 

Cause it to grow, until the fane The chant shall sound — the censer swing — 

In grandeur proud, yet simple, stands. And, through the Victim e'er revered. 

Proclaiming God's eternal reign. The incense prayer shall heavenward wing. 

Beneath the roof soon arching o'er, With joy then aid, this dome for praise. 
The organ and the mingling voice — To rear, with sculptur'd column high! 

Shall bid the bending knee adore, And let the spire its finger raise. 
Shall make the melting heart rejoice. In love or warning to the sky. 

To meet the pressing wants of a large but very poor population, who cannot find room in the 
small and crowded churches of Buffalo, Bishop Timon has begun a church, which will be the cathe- 
dral of that new diocese, and bear the name of St. Joseph. For the glory of God, for the salvation of 
souls, and in hope of blessed reward, many generous souls have contributed to this Cathedral of St. 
Joseph. The walls are already nineteen feet high, but funds are quite exhausted and debts contracted ; 
the work must be stopped unless further aid is obtained: that further aid is most humbly and most 
respectfully solicited. 

Forever the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass will, annually, on Easter Sunday, be offered up to the 
Almighty to beg His blessings on the benefactors of the cathedral, and on their'posterity. And, each 
year, on Christmas day, another Mass shall be celebrated, as long as the world lasts, for deceased 

"Thine, O Lord, is riches, and Thine is glory. * * * * Q Lord our God, all this store that 
we have prepared to build thee a house for thy holy name, is from thy hand; and all things are thine. 
* * * * Wherefore I also, in the simplicity of my heart, have joyfully offered all these things." 

I Par. XXIX. 

We'll raise Thee a temple, O Father above, 

A temple to honor Thy power and love, 

Where for ever and ever Thy praise will arise 

In accents of joy that shall reach to the skies. 

We'll build Thee a temple, where for ever Thy praise 

Shall triumphant resound, whilst blest truth's holy rays, 

And sweet helps of thy grace, the poor, prodigal son. 

Shall enlighten and strengthen, all evil to shun. 

And when from this exile of earth we must go, 

Mighty God, may Thy love us a dwelling bestow 

In Thy temple on high, in the home of the blest, 

Where each giver grows rich in true life's endless rest 

Buffalo, Feast of All Saints, 1851. 

There was scarcely a prominent man in the United States who did not know Bishop Timon, and 
who did not admire him. These friends were ready to help the good bishop in any charitable or 
religious work which he would undertake. Catholic laymen from different parts of the United States 
sent Bishop Timon money, when they learned that he needed assistance in building his cathedral. 
They had known him as a missionary when he preached mission sermons to them, or they had known 
him as the hard-working bishop when he went about the country giving retreats or lectures for the 
purpose of spreading a knowledge of the doctrines of the church among the people. Prominent 
Protestants also sent their contributions to the bishop, because they admired his self-sacrificing life and 
his charity to the poor. President Fillmore was one of the earliest contributors to the cathedral. 


The bishop visited other countries in the interests of the cathedral, and the King of Bavaria, the 
Emperor of France, and many other titled persons of the different countries of Europe gave the bishop 
money or works of art for his cathedral. He visited Mexico on a similar mission. For nearly tlu-ee 
months he traveled about through the different towns in Mexico, confirming many thousands and 
accepting the offerings of the people and the contributions of the wealthier classes for his cathedral. 
He collected over $14,000.00 in Mexico. 

The priests of his own diocese helped him greatly in the work of erecting a magnificent cathedral. 
Some of them collected for this object in Europe, and others collected through the diocese along the 
line of public works. Bazaars^were also held in some of the larger parishes, and the Christmas collec- 
tion was also applied to the same object. 

The corner-stone of the cathedral was laid in 1852, and three years later the bishop saw his glorious 
work nearing completion. The great archbishop of New York preached the dedication sermon, and 
he congratulated the Catholics of Western New York on the completion of this magnificent testimonial 
of their faith. He said that the building was a triumph of architectural beauty, and that it was an 
honor to God and a credit to the bishop and people of the diocese of Buffalo. Bishop Timon, however, 
was not content with the mere beautiful building, but he sought for the best works of art which the 
world could furnish to add additional beauty to his magnificent cathedral. Munich had ever been 
famed for its beautiful art glass works, and when the bishop visited that city he secured beautiful win- 
dows for the sanctuary of the cathedral. Costly windows were rare in the churches at that time in the 
United States, but nothing was too good for the cathedral at Buffalo, and Bishop Timon did not hesi- 
tate to secure these magnificent windows. 

Bells are a necessary complement of the large churches. They tell of the joys and sorrows of the 
people as well as they proclaim the feasts and fasts of the church. One bell might have served the 
purpose of proclaiming the usual announcements of church bells, but Bishop Timon wanted something 
which would add to the attractiveness of his cathedral, and which would be worthy of this great temple 
dedicated to the service of God. When in France he visited the famous manufactory of Bollee & Son. 
This firm had a carillon, or a chime of bells, on exhibition at the exposition at Paris. Bishop Timon 
made a contract for this set of bells and had eight other bells added to the set, so that it was the third 
largest in the world. There is no other chime of bells in America that can compare with them, and 
there are only two other sets in the world that are superior to them. They not only excel in numbers, 
but also in beauty and sweetness of tone. They may be played as an organ, with a key-board and 
cylinder which is operated by electricity. The tower, however, is not large enough for the numerous 
bells, and they cannot be manipulated so as to bring out the full quantity and beauty of their tone. 
Many projects have been started to erect a suitable place for these wonderful bells, so that the people 
of Buffalo might enjoy the sweet harmony of their soiinds. Those who have heard them realize what 
a treasure the church and the city possess in the chimes of St. Joseph's Cathedral. Experts say 
that if they could only be properly and fully played they would be the greatest attraction in the 
city, and Buffalo would be known as "the city of the beautiful bells." 

There was no work in the diocese which Bishop Timon seemed to set his heart on so much as 
upon his cathedral. He worked incessantly for its erection, and he took great pride in its ornamenta- 
tion. He did not glory in it as his own work, but he thought it was an acceptable gift to God and a 
house worthy of His service. He believed also that it was a credit to the people of his diocese, and 
a tribute of their faith to the service of God. Whenever he returned from a long journey he 
immediately visited his cathedral and spent some time in prayer. Father Gleason, Vicar-General, 
who knew him well, often said that if Bishop Timon would return to earth he would be found walking 
up and down the aisles of his cathedral, in the stillness of the night, reciting his rosary. 



jlHEN Bishop Timon came to Buifalo there were only a few priests in the diocese. Many 
of these were not affiUated, and were under no obHgation to remain to labor under the new 
bishop. Bishop Timon had a very rigorous training as a member of a religious order. 
He was taught that the will of the superior was absolute law. He was taught poverty and 
obedience, and he believed that these were great and essential virtues. He practiced them 
as a member of the religious order and he practiced them as a bishop. He did not seem to realize 
that his priests or his people did not have the same ideas instilled into their minds of the virtues of 
the religious life as did those who were trained in the religious novitiate, and he expected and exacted 
from his priests the same absolute obedience which he gave as a religious to his superior. He looked 
upon his priests as his children, and he loved them as such ; but he also expected them to obey him 
absolutely. For many years after the diocese was formed students who were ordained did not 
have the thorough training and education which they obtained in later years. They were not, 
therefore, so thoroughly equipped for mission work as they should have been. The bishop, there- 
fore, who had many years of experience in colleges and in the mission fields directed his young 
priests in all their labors. 

The bishop was the head of every institution in the diocese. He was pastor of every parish. 
Nothing of importance could be done in any parish without his sanction. He gave instructions in 
every parish in the diocese. He gave missions in all his parishes. He did not wait to be asked to 
give a mission but sent word in advance to the pastor that he would give a mission in his church at a 
certain time. He would be there promptly on the day appointed, and would labor for a week in true 
missionary style, giving three, four or five instructions every day and hearing confessions until a late 
hour each night. In the smaller places he gave lectures. He would send word in advance to neigh- 
boring priests, or to some prominent Catholic layman, with instructions for either one to spread the 
rumor of the proposed lecture. Where the bishop was not acquainted with the Catholic laymen who 
would do his work, or with the priest who could attend to it, he would have hand-bills printed and 
secure some boy to distribute them through the town, notifying Catholics and Protestants that the 
bishop would deliver a lecture, most probably in the court house or in a Unitarian or Universalist 

Where the site was to be selected for a church the bishop would inspect it before it could be pur- 
chased. Where a church was to be built the bishop would approve the plans, and often he sent plans 
of his own instead of the ones selected by the pastor. Although he directed all the work of his priests 
and required them to consult him in everything, yet he had the greatest care for their interests, and 
he treated them as his children. Once when he was absent visiting his diocese, and he returned to his 
cathedral to find his priests sick or worn out visiting cholera patients, he sent all of them to bed -or to 
the hospital, and he looked after the sick calls until the priests of his household were restored to health 
or the epidemic had ceased. Bishop Timon may have been too fatherly to have suited the dispositions 
of all the priests of his diocese. He did not give them, perhaps, privileges enough to suit their inclina- 
tions. He moved them about as occasion or necessity seemed to call for a change. This constant 
change created some disaffection, and in 1864 the bishop received an anonymous printed document 
purporting to express the sentiments of his priests and protesting against his actions. It was M^ritten 
in bad English and poor taste. It protested against the constant removal of priests and frequent 
changes of the officials of the diocese. It mentioned the numerous collections which the bishop had 
made throughout Europe for the institutions of his diocese, but gives no credit for all the sacrifices 
which these collections cost him. Bishop Timon professed poverty and obedience and he practiced 
poverty and obedience; and it brought sadness to his heart when he found that his priests did not either 
practice or appreciate either of those two virtues, which he believed to be necessary for the religious 
life. Although it was never known positively who were the authors of these anonymous letters, yet 


the bad English and bad taste were good circumstantial evidences of their authors. The bishop at 
this time was very much worn out with his strenuous life; and often after a season of unusual hard 
labor in giving retreats or traveling on his many necessary errands at all hours of the day and night, 
and sometimes without anything to eat until late in the afternoon, he would jot down in his journal 
"extremely fatigued" or "exhausted." When these anonymous letters, therefore, came to him they 
affected him very deeply, because his nerves were shattered with long and exhaustive labors and he 
never expected such reproof from the priests he loved. He seemed very much grieved and deeply 
affected, because he believed that he deserved better treatment from those whom he looked upon as 
his children. It is probable that only four or five disaffected priests in the diocese had anything to 
do with these letters; and these few betrayed themselves by stealing away from the diocese on different 
pretexts, because it was evident that they felt guilty of having grievously offended such a self-sacrificing 
and holy a man as Bishop Timon. 



BISHOP TIMON was above everything else a great worker. He was an indefatigable, 
ceaseless and tireless worker. The work of forming a new diocese such as Buffalo was 
when Bishop Timon came, was in itself an immense undertaking. There were between 
twenty and thirty thousand Catholic people in the diocese, and but two or three buildings 
that could be called churches, and one institution. Bishop Timon felt under the 
obligation of building up parishes wherever they were needed, of instructing the people in 
every settlement in his diocese, and of establishing all the institutions necessary for a thoroughly 
equipped diocese. A man of lesser energy would not think of doing all this in a short period 
of time, but would allow those different needs to be met by favorable conditions as they would suc- 
cessively arise. Bishop Timon, however, resolved to provide for all these wants before they actually 
existed, and he started institutions when there did not seem to be any great need for them. His wisdom 
and forethought, however, were evident in a few years. This was the case with the hospital, with the 
foundling asylum, and with the deaf-mute institution. He had no patients or pupils for these institu- 
tions when they were established, but very shortly afterwards they were urgently needed. 

He frequently gave confirmation in every parish of his diocese, and on these occasion he thoroughly 
examined the children to see that they were well instructed for the sacrament which they were about 
to receive. He frequently deferred confirmation when he found the class was not sufficiently instructed, 
and he prepared the candidates himself for confirmation whenever time permitted. He did not confine 
his instructions to the children. There was not a parish in the diocese in which he did not give a 
mission, or a retreat, or a lecture. He did not wait to be asked to give these lectures or retreats, but 
sent word in advance to the priest that he would give a lecture or retreat in his church on a certain 
date. These retreats frequently lasted a whole week, and the bishop on these occasions gave three 
or four instructions every day. When he lectured it was on some subject that would interest Protes- 
tants as well as Catholics; and on these occasions he preferred a public hall, wherever one could con- 
veniently be secured. Very often, where there was no public hall and where the Catholic church was 
not sufficiently large, he secured the Universalist or Unitarian church or the court house, and on these 
occasions he had many prominent Protestants among his audience. His lectures were well written 
and eloquently delivered, and made a deep impression by the bishop's earnestness, on both Catholics 
and Protestants. Many Catholics were called back to a sense of their duty by hearing the teachings 
of their faith placed before their minds in such an earnest and eloquent manner. This was evidenced 
at Warsaw where many Catholics had fallen away from the Church, because for years they had not 
seen a priest. His lectures also made a deep impression on Protestants, and many were lead to inquire 
further about the teachings of the Church and some to come within her fold, from listening to the elo- 
quent exposition of her teachings by the bishop of Buffalo. In one large town all the prominent 
Protestant business men and officials sent a letter of thanks to the bishop for his instructive lecture, and 
requested him to select a date when he could again come to give them further enlightenment upon 
whatever important subject he might choose. 

Bishop Timon not only gave retreats to his own people but he was in great demand by bishops.- 
for retreats for their priests. He gave retreats, whenever he could spare time, for the priests of the 
diocese or for the sisters of the communities. He gave retreats at Cincinnati, at Louisville, at Toronto 
and at Philadelphia for the priests, and he gave retreats in many convents for the sisters. Bishop 
Lynch, of Toronto, in begging him to give a retreat to his priests wrote that he had set the hearts of 
the people of his own diocese of Buffalo on fire with the flame of Divine Love, and he wished him to 
come to cast some of that fire into the hearts of his priests. 

Most of the bishops of the United States looked upon Bishop Timon as one of the holiest and 
wisest in the hierarchy. Bishop Neumann looked upon Bishop Timon as his model, although he 
himself is soon to be canonized. Whenever he needed any advice or direction he called upon Bishop 



Timon. When there was trouble in Chicago it was Bishop Timon who was asked by Bishop O'Regan, 
and later by Bishop Vandevelt, to come to give them the benefit of his wisdom and advice in settling 
the difficulty. Bishop Timon was counselor for Bishop De Goesbriand in all his undertakings. Many 
other bishops also consulted Bishop Timon occasionally in difficult matters. His name was evidently 
proposed for Baltimore, the primatial see of the United States. Many of the bishops would like to 
have seen him at the head of the hierarchy in the United States. When this rumor was bruited in 
Buffalo the public press protested against the removal of Bishop Timon from Western New York as 
a public loss to the community. 

All of the most conspicuous features of Bishop Timon's career were his relations with public prom- 
inent persons. People of all classes and creeds admired him because of his indefatigable zeal and 
labors in the cause of humanity and religion. They admired him also on account of simplicity of 
character and humility of manner, which made him approachable and lovable. He knew intimately 
the greater number of the Catholics of his diocese. He was on terms of intimate friendship with the 
Devereaux of Ellicottville and the Kernans of Lake Keuka, and he frequently visited these illustrious 
Catholic families, and was in turn very much loved by them. Protestants also, when they knew him 
well, admired him fully as much as did his own Catholic children. He had no warmer friend than 
Dean Richmond, the president of the New York Central & Hudson River R. R. It is related that 
when the officials of that road decided to abrogate passes. Dean Richmond insisted upon a pass for 
the little bishop of Buffalo. All the conductors knew him and had the greatest reverence and respect 
for him, both on account of his own character and on account of the esteem in which he was held by 
the head of the New York Central & Hudson River R. R. Bishop Timon would travel at any hour 
of the day or night ; and at night time he would stretch himself out on a seat and wrap a blanket around 
him, and here he would rest until he reached his destination. On one occasion the conductor came 
along at early morning demanding tickets and seeing gray hairs protruding from the top of a blanket 
he shook the passenger and said: "Here, old man, give me your ticket." When he heard the voice 
saying "What is it, my child," he exclaimed: "Oh, I am ruined." The good bishop said: "Never 
mind, my child, that is all right." The president of the United States, Mr. Fillmore, admired Bishop 
Timon fully as much as did Dean Richmond. He gave the bishop money on different occasions for 
his cathedral, or for some charitable object; and on several occasions the bishop dined with him in the 
White House at Washington. 

Bishop Timon was on terms of intimacy with many prominent persons in Europe. He was well- 
known to cardinals and nuncios at Paris, Munich and Vienna; and they entertained him and helped 
him in his efforts to secure many of the things he needed for his diocese. He was well and favorably 
known also to many of the prominent laymen of Europe. Metternich, the great statesman, frequently 
corresponded with the bishop ; and many other notables of France, of England and of Austria entertained 
and aided the bishop of Buffalo. He had interviews with the king of Naples, the king of Bavaria, 
the Emperor and Empress of France. The Emperor and Empress of France were very kind to him 
and aided him in his work. The other rulers also remembered him most generously, especially the 
King of Bavaria. 

- Bishop Timon expected an exact observance of the law from his people and priests. He looked 
upon the law as the expression of the will of God, and he was displeased and pained if priests especially 
violated any commandment of the law of the diocese or the Church. He had made a statute of the 
diocese limiting the number of carriages at funerals. At the funeral of the brother of Father McGowan, 
in Rochester, the number of carriages exceeded the limit allowed by the law. There were several 
priests at this funeral; and the bishop punished them by fining them various amounts, from $10.00 to 
$25.00 each. When the priests were obedient and observed the laws then the bishop would reward 
them by every means in his power. He gave them books for themselves and articles and vestments 
for their churches. He procured teachers for their schools. He selected sites for their churches, and 
gave them plans for their buildings. When a priest was about to build a church he would submit a 
plan to the bishop, and if it were not suitable the bishop would tell him that he would send him a plan 
in a few days. 

With all the other duties the bishop found time to study. His study hours, however, were during the 
peaceful time at night when his body should have been enjoying the needed repose to fit him for the next 
day's labor. His sermonsand his lectures were well prepared, and required time and thought and study. 
He kept well posted on current events; and he found time to study theology, and to learn sacred and 
profane history. He had a natural aptitude for languages; and, without any long or thorough study 


of any one of them, he acquired a competent knowledge of French and German. He was able to 
preach in either of these languages, and he frequently did preach in both of them. He had also a 
fairly good knowledge of Italian and Spanish, sufEcient, at least, to carry on a conversation. 

With all his other works Bishop Timon found time for prayer. Perhaps the most prominent 
feature in the bishop's character was his love of prayer. Whenever he was at home he had morning 
and evening meditation and prayer in common. He was frequently up some time before the morning 
meditation, which took place at half -past five. When he was away from home, if he were in the neigh- 
borhood of a religious house where morning prayer was held, he would be with the community at the 
hour for prayer and meditation. His first visit in a town was generally to the church. Sometimes 
to hear confessions, and other times to say mass or to pray. He always tried to say mass every morning 
wherever he was. Sometimes it would be 10, 11 o'clock, or later in the morning when he would reach 
his destination, and he would proceed immediately to some church in which he could say mass. In 
those years trains were frequently behind time ; and when he found that he was not on time to keep an 
appointment, in hearing confessions, he would go direct from the train to the church, and labor there 
lecturing or hearing confessions until a late hour at night without any supper. He would not under- 
take anything of importance without prayer, and whenever he was asked to do anything or give his 
decision in matters of importance he would postpone the matter until he would have time to pray 
for light and direction. He had the greatest confidence in the Providence of God. Without this 
confidence he could not have undertaken all the vast works he did, especially in his diocese without 
any apparent means to carry them to a successful issue, or without any seeming need of their existence. 
He had a mass said on the first day of each month, at the altar of St. Joseph at the cathedral, in honor 
of Divine Providence, and the Litany of Providence was recited there also at that mass. We might 
say that he was the angel of providence in providing for the poor in his diocese. In the larger places 
he established conferences of St. Vincent de Paul on his first visit, so that they might provide for the 
poor in that district. Charity or love for God and man was the great characteristic of Bishop Timon. 
It was this virtue that made his life such a benediction to Buffalo and an inspiration to all who knew 



SISHOP TIMON'S health had been failing for some years previous to his death. He had fre- 
quently complained of fatigue and weariness after some of his extraordinary labors. The 
human form could not long withstand the strain to which Bishop Timon subjected his 
poor body in the fulfillment of his many self-imposed duties. It seems wonderful now 
how he could have lived so long. It was nothing uncommon for the bishop to preach three 
or four hours a day, to hear confessions for four of five hours, and to travel or be engaged in some 
other serious occupation for seven or eight hours, and then he might give an hour or more of the 
same day to prayer. He did not seem to care for his physical comfort; and he used his body merely 
as a vehicle to carry him about, or as an instrument to enable himto accomplish some work. As 
early as 1864 he felt that he was nearly worn out, and he frequently adverted to this matter. At 
the meeting of the priests after the anonymous letters were issued, he told them that he did 
not expect to live much longer, and that he hoped if he had injured any of them unconsciously 
that they would forgive him. At the last synod which he held he spoke of the wonderful prog- 
ress that had been made in the diocese in those few short years since his consecration, and he 
ascribed this wonderful progress to the co-operation of his priests. He confessed that he was often 
hasty in his actions, and this was due to his impulsive nature. This, he said, probably led him into 
hasty actions or rash judgments, but he never wished purposedly to offend any one of his priests. He 
said that this was, he believed, the last time that he would meet them all, and he asked them all to over- 
look any failings in his dealings with them; because these were due to his hasty temper and not to 
any fault of his heart. 

The bishop was really worn out with work; and as he grew weaker and more feeble his friends 
and physicians advised him to work less, and give a little time to rest and recuperation. Rest for the 
sake of recovering enfeebled health seemed incompatible with Bishop Timon's disposition, even, when 
he was very feeble. He continued to lecture and perform works that were not absolutely necessary. 
He lectured at Rochester, and he was so weak that he was obliged to sit in a chair during the entire 
delivery of his discourse. The next morning one of the papers stated that the lecture was one of the 
most brilliant that the bishop had delivered. It was evident, however, it stated, that whilst the bishop's 
mind preserved its brilliancy his body was worn out, and he was evidently resolved to die in the harness. 
In this enfeebled state the bishop contracted erysipelas. He attended a sick sister, who was aflBicted 
with this disease, and shortly afterwards symptoms of the malady were discovered on the bishop. His 
physician treated him for this disease, but he never fully recovered. They advised him to take a long 
rest, to leave his work of the diocese in other hands, and journey to some foreign clime. He probably 
would have followed this advice if he had another year or two to live, but in the meantime he would not 
give up his work. He continued his usual routine of labors up to the very hour when the powers of 
his body refused to obey the behest of his will. 

He preached in the cathedral on Palm Sunday, April 14th, 1867, but every one who listened to 
him realized that he was near his last hour. He referred to his weakened condition, and told the 
people that he had not long to live, and asked them to pray for him. It was a great sorrow to his 
people ; and they realized the meaning of his request for they all loved him, and they knew that what 
he said was only too true. He was up at meditation next morning as usual, and at the close he asked 
the priests to pray for his happy death. At the meditation every morning he asked the priests to pray 
for some special intention. This was usually for the success of some undertaking which he had in 
hand, for the conversion of some sinner, or for some charitable object; but when he asked them to pray 
for his own happy demise they all turned to him in astonishment. They realized, however, that his 
words were only too true because he was not able to go to the church to say mass ; instead he returned 
to his room. A few hours later dispatches were sent to Bishop Lynch, of Toronto, and Bishop Farrell, 
of Hamilton, who immediately came and administered the last sacraments to the first bishop of Buffalo. 


He died the next day, shortly after 8 o'clock in the evening. There was great mourning in the city, 
and nearly one hundred thousand people visited the cathedral or bishop's residence to view the remains 
of the saintly Timon. The funeral services were held on the following Monday. The body was 
placed upon a large catafalque drawn by six gray horses, and an immense procession wended its way 
through the principal streets of the city to the cathedral where the services were held. Many societies, 
children from the orphan asylums and from the schools, as well as priests and bishops and archbishops 
made up this great procession to the cathedral. Archbishop Kenrick, of St. Louis, and Archbishop 
McCloskey, of New York, pronounced eulogies over the remains of the saintly bishop of Buffalo. 
His body was placed beneath the cathedral which he loved so well, and which proclaims his wonderful 
energy and his remarkable labors. 



BISHOP Timon had filled the office of bishop so remarkably well that Rome evidently 
was anxious to secure one like him as his successor. There was then a remark- 
able man at the head of the Vincentian Order in the United States who had 
many of the traits of the first saintly bishop of Buffalo in his character. This 
was Stephen Vincent Ryan, Visitor General of the Order; and it was as a Vincentian 
novice that he acquired those ideas of severe austerities which made him indifferent to corporal nourish- 
ment, and he had adopted their ideas of ceaseless labor as a necessary means to sanctification. Stephen 
Vincent Ryan was trained in the same school of severe discipline, and he learned also that unceasing 
labor was a virtue of the religious life. He had filled many important posts with ability and success. 
He had been president of one of the important colleges of the order, and at this time he occupied the 
highest position of the order in the United States. He had filled this position successfully since 1857; 
and so well had he become known for his piety, his learning and his executive ability, that Rome as 
well as the bishops of the United States looked to him to fill the place left vacant by Bishop Timon. 
When he was notified of his appointment he pleaded to be released, but Rome insisted, and issued 
what was paramount to a command for him to assume the burden. When he understood that 
there was no escape, he prepared by a long retreat for the great honor and the heavy burden which 
awaited him. 

The Courier of November 9th, 1868, gave the following description of Bishop Ryan's advent to 
Buffalo and his personal appearance: 

"Yesterday was made memorable in the annals of the Catholic Church in this diocese, and indeed 
throughout the Union, by the consecration which elevated the Right Rev. Stephen Vincent Ryan, 
C. M., to the episcopacy of the Roman Catholic diocese of Buffalo. Since the advent of Bishop 
Timon, over a score of years ago, no event has been looked forward to by our Catholic citizens with 
more interest. There was a very natural anxiety to know what manner of man would be called 
upon to fill the vacancy created by the lamented prelate, who was esteemed by every class and loved 
by all who knew him. It was no difficult matter to conceive it possible that Bishop Timon's successor 
would not come fully up to Bishop Timon's standard, so lofty and noble was it in its simplicity, 
charity, and as we believe, purity of the interior life; or to approach him in comprehensiveness of 
design and fervidness of zeal in the fullfiUment of what he conceived to be his mission. This anxiety 
will soon be relieved; already a strong feeling of confidence has sprung into existence as if by magic, 
among our Catholic people, in favor of Bishop Ryan, and that an acquaintance with him will 
strengthen that confidence until it ultimates in ardent aflFection we have not the remotest doubt. 

In personal appearance Bishop Ryan is a little below the medium height, of slender build, with 
dark complexion, expressive eyes, and the face of a man who had given unsparingly of his vitality to 
the work in which his energies have centered. His organization indicates energy, activity, intensity, 
with a certain wiriness of character which admits of great power and endurance. We should not 
select him as a man conservative by nature; but meditation, a liberal culture and an acquaintance 
with all classes, have, in a degree, rendered him so. In whatever cause he might be found engaged 
he would be known for his zeal, his prudent aggressiveness and his fearlessness. He belongs to that 
class of men who live a century in twenty-five years, and who expend their vital forces while other 
men sleep. He looks to us like a man of genial temper and must needs become popular with his 
ministry and people. So much, in brief, of our present impressions of Bishop Ryan." 

The consecration took place in St. Joseph's Cathedral, November 8th, 1868, before many prom- 
inent ecclesiastics of the United States and Canada, and before an immense throng of people. The 
important clergy present were: Archbishop McCloskey, of New York; Bishop Laughlin, of Brooklyn; 
Bishop Lynch, of Toronto; Bishop Farrell, of Hamilton; Bishop Williams, of Boston; Bishop Bailey, 
of Newark, N. J.; Bishop McFarlane, of Providence, R. I.; Bishop Conroy, of Albany, N. Y.; Bishop 


O'Hara, of Scranton, Pa.; Bishop Wood, of Philadelphia; Bishop Goesbriand, of Burlington, Vt., 
and Bishop McQuaid, of Rochester. Archbishop McCloskey was celebrant of the mass and he was 
assisted by Bishops Laughlin and Lynch. The Rev. P. J. Ryan, of St. Louis, the distinguished orator, 
who afterwards became archbishop of Philadelphia, preached the consecration sermon. The Courier 
of the above date mentioned, refers to the sermon in these words : 

"At this point in the consecration ceremonies. Very Rev. P. J. Ryan of St. Louis entered the 
pulpit, and reading from the eighth chapter of the Book of Leviticus, commencing with the first 
verse what is written of the consecration of Aaron and his sons, he delivered the consecration sermon. 
Although we made notes of the same, we were forced to conclude that the fullest synopsis would 
only do it injustice and even a verbatim report would convey but an inadequate idea of its force and 
beauty. The speaker is an orator whose eloquence is fascinating and at times irresistible by force of 
its earnestness. His reasoning was lucid, severe, logical ; his illustrations impetuous and apt ; his 
rhetoric pure ; his periods feeling and rounded, and his climaxes grand. His enunciation was clear, 
and his utterance frequently charged with a fire that made it electric. He spoke without notes, with 
evident spontaneity; and his sermon altogether was a masterpiece. That portion of it addressed to 
the newly consecrated Bishop was splendidly eloquent and touching, and during its delivery, as 
indeed in previous portions of the address, the speaker was surprisingly dramatic. Whatever estimate 
may have been placed upon the sermon as an exposition of its theme by those who do not believe in 
the Catholic doctrines, all must have received it as a most eloquent effort." 

Bishop Ryan found that the diocese was in very good order. It was well provided with all kinds 
of institutions of learning, and for the care of all the helpless forms of human weakness. In the few 
years which Bishop Timon labored in the diocese he had built up a great number of institutions. 
There was no form of helplessness that was not provided for, and there was no class of people for which 
a proper educatian was not provided in some one of the many institutions of learning which had been 
established by Bishop Timon. There were two seminaries to provide education for the students 
aspiring to the priesthood, and nearly all the churches had parochial schools built, or in process of 
erection, and there were academies and colleges for the higher forms of learning. All the diocese 
needed apparently of the bishop was the fostering care of a father and the wise guidance of a man of 
ability to protect what was already existing, or to guide into future channels and expansion institutions 
already existing, to provide for future growth. 



BISHOP RYAN was for some years at the head of the college at Cape Girardeau, and he 
was also at the head for some years of his order in the United States; and he was, con- 
sequently, well posted on the knowledge which was necessary in the priesthood. His first 
care in the diocese in educational matters was to elevate the standard of learning among 
his priests. At the first opportunity he secured places in some of the colleges of 
Europe, and especially at the Propaganda in Rome. Here he knew the students could have 
the benefit of the best professors in Rome; and could also learn much from the monu- 
ments and the history of the Eternal City, and from contact with students of different nation- 
alities. An opportunity was also afforded here to learn one or more different languages, which would 
be very useful in a diocese like Buffalo, made up of people from so many different nations. He picked 
promising students and sent them to the colleges abroad in which he had secured places; so that they 
might return with their minds well stored with the knowledge acquired in the foreign seats of learning, 
and broadened by their contact with people from different parts of the earth. 

Bishop Ryan did not believe that all study ended when the student left the seminary and received 
the sacred oils in ordination. He insisted on a thorough study during the first five years after ordina- 
tion; and at the examination of the young priests on these occasions he informed them that their future 
standing in the diocese would depend upon the merit of their papers at this annual test of their applica- 
tion to study. Bishop Ryan's encouragement of study amongst his priests soon gave the diocese of 
Buffalo a learned body of men. The bishop also surrounded himself with the most learned men of 
his diocese, and placed them in all the important official positions. Other qualities being present, he 
selected men for important positions especially on account of their learning. This encouraged learning 
and fostered peace. When priests see their brother priests elevated to positions above them on account 
of their superior learning they approve of the selection, and they praise the wisdom of the bishop. 
Where there is bickering or discontent it may often be occasioned by the selection for important 
positions of priests who have not given their time to study, and who are not remarkable above other 
priests for their learning. Under Bishop Ryan the diocese of Buffalo became noted for its capable 
men and efficient officials. It was a model in this respect for many of the dioceses of the country. 

Bishop Ryan was as much interested in the efficiency of his parochial schools as he was in the 
education of his ecclesiastical students. There were many different teaching orders in the diocese, 
and they had many different systems of imparting instructions ; some of these were good, and some 
were not good. The methods in all cases were not up to the standard of modern methods. The 
bishop's first care was the appointment of a diocesan board of school examiners. It was the duty 
of the members of this board to visit all the schools of the diocese, at least, once a year ; and to examine 
the different classes in every school, and make suggestions for improvements where they were needed. 
The bishop had these examiners write out a general statement, or report, of their investigations and 
recommendations, and called a general meeting at St. Stephen's Hall. Here the different representa- 
tive teachers and the school examiners discussed the needs of the schools, and agreed that a uniform 
system of grades would be of advantage to the schools of the diocese. This was the first great step 
for the advance of parochial schools. With the uniform system of grades there could be uniformity 
also in the examinations, and with uniformity in the examinations the defects in any particular school 
could be readily discovered and easily remedied. 

The bishop delivered a great lecture in St. James' Hall on February 25th, 1875, on the plea for 
Christian schools. This lecture created a good deal of discussion, and placed the Catholic idea of 
Christian schools before the public. The bishop's idea of the parochial school is well conveyed in the 
following lines from his pastoral letter of February 27th, 1881. 

"As our schools occupy much of our attention, and are among the most pressing solicitudes of our 
pastoral charge, engrossing our thoughts and burdening our conscience, naturally the first subject 

Rev. F. J. McNAUGHTON, M. R., 


ST. ANN'S CHURCH, Hornellsville. 

Rev. WM. H. DARCY, Addison. 


> »• 

'^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^W i 






ST. MARY'S CHURCH, Corning. 
Rev. J. M. -Bustin, M. R., Rector. 



(The late) Rev. T. F, GLEASON. 

ST- MARY'S SCHOOL, Corning. 

Corning, Erected 1903, 







Rev. J. B. STEMMLER, Elmira. 



1-^-.. Is ' .^ 



Rkv. J. A. KENN,EDY, Hammondsport. 

ST. GABRIEL'S CHURCH, Hammondsport. 


Rev.IGN. J. KLEJNA, Elmira. 











Rev J. J. MORIARITY, Waverly. 


Rev. JOHN J. LEE, Watkins. 











Rev. a. L. HUBER, Perkinsville. 

'' ji|L 


. .•'i^^j^iws , H Tlk i5 " 


: ^S^r 

ST. MARY'S HALL, Rexville. 




ST. MARY'S CHURCH, Rexville, Rev. John Casey, Rector. 



presented for your respectful consideration, will be that which I believe to be of the first importance, 
viz: that of establishing, sustaining and improving our parish schools. We will never be satisfied 
until we have provided facilities of acquiring a Christian education within the reach of all the children 
of the diocese, and have gathered the bulk of the Catholic youth into schools in which this object is 
attainable. I need not repeat what I have often said before, that no parish is fully equipped for 
parish work, unless provided with a good school; no church can make progress in what is essentially 
the mission of a church, can build up its members in piety, religion, and faith, unless the young are 
instructed in their faith, and trained to the practices of piety. True Catholic life, genuine Catholic 
sentiments and instincts, can only exist and endure, when implanted and, as it were, ingrained in the 
soul even from its mother's breast, by such deft and loving ways as only intelligent religious mothers 
know, and afterward fostered, deepened and confirmed in ripening youth by a Christian education. 
Religious and moral principles cannot be hoped for, in mature years, unless sown in infancy, by the 
voice and example of good parents ; they are watered, sheltered and cultivated ; as the heart warms 
and expands, the mind unfolds and matures, in the atmosphere of a religious school. The Christian 
school must, then, be ready to take the child from the threshold of the Christian home and fit the 
young boy and the young girl to be consistent, instructed and faithful members of the Christian 
Church. In the school, children must learn to know and love, to appropriate and assimilate the 
saving truths and divine principles of the Christian religion, to understand, cherish and adopt in 
practice, in spirit and in truth, the divine lessons of Christian morality. Christian virtue. The Chris- 
tian Church is fed from the Christian School, and this in turn filled from the Christian family: the 
Christian home. These constantly and necessarily act and re-act on each other and on society." 

In the commencement season the bishop showed his interest in Catholic education by being 
present at all the closing exercises which he could possibly attend. Sometimes it was two or three a 
day, but the good bishop never seemed to weary as long as he could encourage teachers and pupils by 
his presence. 

tmmfitl ni t i ^ ^ iU tm rU i 

3if Hfci«^Hi«ill il> i(t tItTBij 



|ISHOP RYAN was a prolific writer of pastoral letters. Every Lent he sent a long pastoral 
letter to the different parishes to be read either immediately preceding the season of Lent, 
or during the first Sundays of that penitential season. In this way he spoke through his 
priests to the large number of people committed to his care. He also wrote pastoral letters 
whenever any important church event impelled him to direct his priests and people to 
observe certain laws or practices of the Church, or to perform certain duties in fulfillment of the 
wishes of the head of the Church. He was at all times pleasing, lucid and fluent in style; but he 
was particularly eloquent when treating of the Holy See, or the Holy Father. On the occasion of 
his official visit in 1878, he addressed his people in the following pastoral: 

"From the earliest ages of the Church, communion with the See of Peter has been the test of Christian 
orthodoxy and Apostolic succession, and from the Apostolic times local churches and their respective 
prelates, whether bishops, archbishops, primates or patriarchs scattered throughout Christendom, and 
constituting the Ecclesia dispersa, have ever been accustomed to appeal to their union with the Chair 
of Peter and communion with the bishop of Rome, in proof of the soundness of their faith and legit- 
imacy of their authority. Thus did they, whenever questioned, demonstrate the continuity of their 
descent from the apostles, the apostolicity of their teachings, their unity and solidarity with the Catholic 
episcopate, the divinely instituted hierarchy of the Christian Church. "For, thence, as from a fountain 
head," writes St. Augustine, "the rights of venerable communion flow." "To this Church" (the 
Roman), says St. Irenseus, "on account of its superior principate, it is necessary that every church 
should come together." "All prelates and the communities subject to them," as St. Cyprian teaches, 
"constitute one Catholic episcopate, and one Catholic Church, because they cohere with the principal 
Church, the root and matrix, which is the Church of Peter." What these early saints and doctors 
taught and practiced, we practice and teach today, and therefore, from this western hemisphere, from 
this free Republic, even from this Queen City of the Lakes, our own cherished Buffalo, I go as your 
bishop, the chief of your flourishing church, to pay my homage to the Vicar of Christ, and as much 
in your name as in my own, to lay at the feet of his Holiness, our common Father, the testimony of 
unreserved submission, sincere devotedness and love. This is not only an official visit which as bishop 
I pay to the supreme pastor, but also the first visit of your bishop to the newly-elected Pontiff, Leo 
XIII., and I am sure you wish me to express in person to our Holy Father, all the attachment and 
profound respect conveyed in your letter of congratulation at his elevation to the supreme pontificate, 
to which he has deigned so kindly and paternally to reply. As members of one body it is natural that 
we should sympathize with our head, and it is equally natural that our Holy Father should be pleased 
with sympathy, encouragement and support tendered so sincerely and so freely by his children in all 
parts of the world. I feel it then to be not only a duty, but a privilege also, and a pleasure to visit 
Rome at this time, and pay my respects to our illustrious Pontiff, and report to him after nearly ten 
years of administration the condition of the church which his predecessor of saintly memory, com- 
mitted to my weak and unworthy hands." 

Bishop Ryan heartily welcomed the Apostolic Delegate to this country. He looked upon his 
presence as a close reunion of the Church in the United States with the Holy Father at Rome. For 
many years bishops of the United States had found that important matters concerning the Church in 
the United States could not be settled so expeditiously by Rome as the case often demanded; and the 
presence of an authoritative and judicial representative of the Holy See in the United States was 
hailed by them as a satisfactory solution to a difficult problem. Bishop Ryan was amongst the first 
of the bishops in the United States to recognize the benefit of the presence of the Apostolic Delegate. 
He also saw in the Delegate's presence a closer union throughout the Church in this country with the 
Holy Father at Rome. When the Propaganda informed the bishops of the intention of the Holy 
Father to send a delegate as a representative to the United States, Bishop Ryan addressed a pastoral 


letter to the priests of his diocese on the subject, and in this letter he enclosed the instructions of the ■ 
Propaganda, concerning Mgr. Satolli's mission. The closing paragraph of the Propaganda's letter 
furnished the text for the bishop's pastoral. This concluding paragraph was as follows: "While 
informing you of a most wise determination of His Holiness we express a firm hope that you will dili- 
gently assist the distinguished man, whom the pastor of the holy Church has made delegate among 
you, in everything pertaining to your affairs." The bishop made the following commentary on this 
paragraph of the Propaganda's letter: "This same declaration the Holy Father has on more than one 
occasion reiterated, investing his Delegate with his own authority and empowering him to act in his 
name in all ecclesiastical affairs that may be referred to him. Therefore we said that Mgr. SatoUi 
would receive a hearty welcome from the Catholics of the United States, and no where would he be 
hailed more warmly, obeyed more religiously and respected more sincerely than by the priests and 
people of Buffalo. The worthy representative of our illustrious and beloved pontiff, a great admirer 
of our American Republic and its free institutions, is among us in accordance with a custom of the 
Church and the state and dignity which the Catholic religion has attained in America. For growth 
has brought the Church in America to the stage of maturity in which it ought to be favored with those 
institutions with which the Church has flourished elsewhere, and his presence and permanent appoint- 
ment imposes the obligation on us of providing a fitting residence for him." As Bishop Ryan was 
amongst the first to recognize the necessity for the presence of Rome's representative in this country, 
he was also the first to advocate the establishment of a home for the delegation at Washington. He 
believed that much good would come to the Church in America from the presence of the delegate ; and 
he desired to honor him in every way possible, because he believed that thus he would honor the Holy 
Father who sent him. 



[OR several years Bishop Ryan had frequent tilts with Dr. Cox, the Episcopal Bishop of 
Western New York. This irascible gentleman's bogie seemed to be the supremacy of the 
Pope, and on every occasion he attempted to throw discredit upon this fact which 
subverted his own claims to episcopal authority. In the winter of 1874, a number of 
Catholic gentlemen requested Bishop Ryan to deliver a lecture, at his earliest convenience, 
for the benefit of the poor; and they suggested that he take as his subject a review of the sermon 
delivered by Dr. Cox at Erie, on the occasion of the consecration of a missionary bishop. This 
sermon was published in the Buffalo Commercial, and as these gentlemen stated in their petition to 
Bishop Ryan, "It appears to us to mix up Catholic truth with gross abuse, and the Catholic Church's 
sometime honored Catholic principles with the most unwarrantable assumption." Bishop Ryan 
replied to this request: "I have read the sermon of Dr. A. Cleveland Cox to which you refer, and 
indeed I concur with you in characterizing it as a strange meddling of truth and falsehood, of 
sound solid argument eloquently and forcibly put in favor of principles which must lead any man 
holding them, who is logical and consistent, into the fold of the Catholic Church; and evidences 
of an unaccountable hatred and a spirit of spitefulness towards the only church that really upholds 
and carries out these principles. His sermon I will take as a text for my lecture, the time and place 
I leave to yourselves to designate." The lecture was delivered in St. Joseph's Cathedral on February 
22nd, 1874. It was afterwards printed in pamphlet form by the Catholic Union Publishing Company. 
The bishop's lecture called forth a reply from Dr. Cox under the name of "Old Catholic," because 
he said that his criticisms were based on ancient Catholicity. Bishop Ryan reviewed this criticism of 
Dr. Cox in a series of articles contributed to the Catholic Union, which were afterwards printed in 
book form at the request of a number of his friends. He gives the following reasons for the publication 
of these articles in book form : "A promise made at that time to friends who urged the matter on us 
and to whose judgment and wishes we should defer, and having a little leisure on our hands during 
the past winter, we determined to fulfill by giving to the public in a revised and somewhat altered 
form the substance of those articles. Our reviewer charged us with making a personal and unwar- 
ranted assault on him, and now we beg to say that we spoke and wrote merely in the interest of truth; 
and in this publication we have endeavored to discard all personal lines, change words and places so 
as whenever possible to avoid giving cause of complaint on this score, and if our language is sometimes 
strong, or if it has at times the spirit of want of courtesy, I think all unbiased readers will acknowledge 
that the fault is not on our side. We love truth and must defend it. We know the doctrines of the 
Church and must repel false and erroneous charges. We must resent having ourselves and our Holy 
Father belied and travestied apparently for the purpose of creating and confirming prejudice against 
the Catholic Church, and keeping honest and religious minds in ignorance regarding her. We really 
care little, personally as far as we ourselves are concerned, to be called an ignoramus to whom the ele- 
ments of history must be taught, but when we are told, or rather when our respected non-Catholic 
fellow-citizens are told that we are authorized by our church to resort to the tactics of lying, and even 
to violate the scanctity of an oath whenever the good of the Church conflicts with keeping it, we confess 
to a feeling of resentment. We smile complacently when it is intimated that our ignorance is of that 
kind which the old Catholics of Germany assured us is common among otherwise accomplished men 
who have received their education in Roman-Catholic seminaries; but when our saints and doctors 
are misquoted, when canons of early councils are falsified and distorted, when the early fathers of the 
Church are cited to affirm the very reverse of their teachings, and all to obscure and injure the true 
Church, can anyone wonder that we feel occasionally a little indignant. 

"We have no personal quarrel with our neighbor and we have never mentioned him, or his com- 
munion, in lecture or the press, except to refute some false charge made against ourselves, or our 
Church, or to dispel some slanderous aspiration on what is dearer to us than life itself — our Holy Father." 


In the second edition of this work Bishop Ryan gives a Hst of the authors he had consulted in the 
preparation of the matter for his book. The list is a very long one, and contains the names of all the 
authors of note who had written on this subject. Bishop Ryan's treatment of the subject was very 
conclusive, incisive, logical and exhaustive. Dr. Cox had claimed in his consecration sermon that there 
had existed from the time of Christ a corporate body with authority from Christ to teach and ordain, 
and that that corporate body was the Episcopal Church. Bishop Ryan showed that the Episcopalians 
derived what ever authority they had from the Church of England. He showed, moreover, it had no 
valid authority for legitimate consecration, because it had no valid ordination, or no valid consecration 
of bishops from the time of its institution. Parker was the first of the new order of Church of England 
bishops, and they claim that he was consecrated by Barlow, a monk, who had not received consecration 
himself and had no authority to consecrate others. Barlow also used a new form of ritual which had 
no sanction in the Church, and he never received any authority from the Church to confer orders or 
other offices requiring episcopal jurisdiction. The more learned men in the Church of England recog- 
nized that there was no valid ordination in the Church of England deriveH from the legitimate conferring 
of orders, and they requested parliament to make valid by an act of their authority the consecration 
of the bishops already exercising jurisdiction. From this act of parliament they derived the appella- 
tion of parliament bishops and the church of England was said to derive its authority from the parlia- 
ment, or from the queen. 

Bishop Cox evidently felt very grieved by Bishop Ryan's strong presentation of the weakness of 
his position, which made him appear as a pretender and the usurper of authority to which he had 
no valid claim. He would willingly admit that Bishop Ryan was a true Catholic bishop and had 
even valid orders, received by legitimate consecration in due apostolic succession, but he also wanted 
to claim the same right for himself. He was even mlling to admit that the Pope was a true bishop, 
but he claimed that he possessed the same authority and the same power. He attacked the 
supremacy of the Pope on every possible occasion, and when he found that he could not give any 
valid reason for his position, or answer the solid arguments presented by Bishop Ryan he refused to 
notice any refutation of his assertions or any arguments in favor of Catholic truths. The only thing 
that seemed to completely upset him was a remark made by Bishop Ryan on the occasion of one of 
his periodic attacks on the supremacy of the Pope. Bishop Ryan at that time was in Washington and 
a correspondent of one of the Buffalo papers called on him for an interview on Dr. Cox's latest attack. 
Bishop Ryan's answer was that "Dr. Cox is a monomaniac on the subject of the Pope." This concise 
and casual answer completely crushed Dr. Cox. 


BISHOP Ryan's silver jubilee. 

N 1893 Bishop Ryan completed a quarter century of peaceful and prosperous rule 
over the diocese of Buffalo. He was loved by priests and people, and all desired to 
show him honor on the occasion of the completion of his twenty-fifth year as bishop of 
the prosperous diocese over which he reigned. Preparations were made to hold the 
celebration in the cathedral, but no building in Buffalo could accommodate the great 
numbers that desired to honor the bishop on this occasion. Tickets were issued to the different 
pastors, permitting a few from each parish of the city to attend the ceremonies at the cathedral. 
The prominent officials of the city were present, and great crowds of people thronged the aisles and 
pews and every available space in the vast building. Cardinal Gibbons, the head of the Church 
in America, came to honor by his presence the beloved Bishop of Buffalo. The Apostolic Delegate, 
Archbishop Satolli, came also as the representative of the Supreme Pontiff, to do honor by his 
presence to the bishop who always had been such a loyal son of the Holy Father. The jubilee 
mass was sung by the Apostolic Delegate ; and the great archbishop of Philadelphia, who had preached 
at Bishop Ryan's consecration, again delivered a magnificent sermon in his honor on this occasion. 
At the consecration Archbishop Ryan, who was then simple Father Ryan of St. Louis, had predicted 
great things of the new Bishop of Buff alo ; and on this occasion of the silver jubilee he rejoiced in looking 
back over the bishop's career in the fulfillment of his predictions. In closing his magnificent sermon 
Archbishop Ryan addressed these words to the jubilarian: "And now Rt. Rev. Father in God, it 
remains for me to say but a parting word to you on this memorable, I may say historic occasion. In 
the presence here today of the most eminent cardinal of the American Church, whom I know to be 
your friend and admirer; in the presence of the august representative and Apostolic Delegate of His 
Holiness, our most beloved Father, Leo XIII, and of your admirable metropolitan Archbishop of New 
York, and of the prelates who came in such numbers to manifest their love and admiration of your 
episcopal virtues; in the presence of your beloved priests, religious orders, people and children, I 
congratulate you from the depth of my heart on the record of a quarter of a century of work in God's 
holy service and the episcopate of this diocese. Twenty-five years ago this morning it was my privilege 
to address you on the occasion of your consecration ; and I made certain promises regarding your future 
career, which I rejoice to say today have been more than fulfilled. And now, as the evening of both 
our' life days is upon us, and we are crying out with the disciples at "Emaus" to the great bishop of our 
souls, "Mane nobiscum, quoniam advesperascit," (remain with us, Lord, for the day is nearly past 
and the night is at hand), so your priests and people say to you, "Mane nobiscum." Stay with us 
that our hearts may continue to burn within us as you speak by the way of life of the things of God. 
At the end of the mass Mgr. Gleason, who had been vicar-general, and the faithful friend of 
Bishop Ryan all through his episcopal years, advanced towards the bishop; and in the name of 
the priests of the diocese he read an address of congratulation and presented the good bishop 
with a check for $10,000.00, as an expression of their good will on this occasion and their desire 
to co-operate with the bishop in whatever good work he might have at heart. After the services 
in the cathedral a banquet was given in St. Stephen's Hall to the distinguished guests of the day. This 
was a memorable occasion, and the many eminent persons present niade notable addresses of con- 
gratulation to the bishop, whom all admired and nearly all loved for his beautiful life and his many 
good qualities of heart and mind. The addresses were delivered by the Cardinal, Apostolic Delegate, 
Archbishop Corrigan, Archbishop Ireland and Archbishop Walsh, of Toronto. In the evening another 
celebration was held at Music Hall. A procession wended its way from the bishop's house, amid fire- 
works and numerous lights, to the vast edifice which was thronged by as large an audience as could 
possibly gain admittance to the building. Dr. John Cronin, who was a life-long friend of Bishop 
Ryan, delivered an address of congratulation to the bishop in the name of the laity. He also extended 
greetings to the Apostolic Delegate and to the Cardinal, on the occasion of their visit to the City of 



Buffalo. The bishop responded to the address in a feeling manner, and dwelt especially upon the 
kindly relations which had existed between himself and his fellow citizens the past quarter of a century. 
The Apostolic Delegate spoke in the language of his native land ; and his speech was interpreted by 
Dr. Rooker, as well as the cold philosophical idioms of English would convey the meaning of the fervent 
and fluent expressions of the tongue of sunny Italy. The cardinal also spoke in an easy and graceful 
manner and impressed the vast audience with his pleasing and graceful diction. ArchlDishop Ireland 
was present, and the vast audience demanded that he should be heard. He delivered a characteristic 
address, and sustained his reputation as "the cyclone of the West." 

There were seven archbishops present on this occasion, about twenty bishops, and many distin- 
guished priests from the United States and Canada. Everyone desired to honor the good bishop on 
the occasion of his silver jubilee. 



|ISHOP RYAN was not a robust man when he came to Buffalo to be consecrated. He 
was very much emaciated at that time, apparently from anxiety and the fast and retreat 
he underwent to prepare him for the great task of ruling an important diocese. At the 
great procession, which moved up Main Street on the evening of his arrival, he looked 
like a mere skeleton, and one old lady remarked, asking at the same time God's 
forgiveness for her reflection upon the poor bishop, that he looked like a martyr. The worry and 
anxiety connected with his office were necessarily very trying upon his nerves and upon his con- 
stitution, and many times he was confined to his bed for days by illness from which he seemed 
to recover very rapidly. He would be confined to his bed in the morning and unable to say mass, 
and two or three hours later he would be found assisting at some important meeting or performing 
some necessary duty of his office. He had an unusually severe attack in Rome when attending the 
Vatican Council, and he was prepared then for death. This attack was brought on by partaking of 
the Italian ice cream, which is not as palatable a dish as the American article. An instance of his 
rapid recovery from sickness will show his wonderful recuperative powers. On one occasion he was 
to be present at the commencement exercises at the seminary at Niagara Falls. Some priests who 
were to accompany him called at the cathedral the morning of the event, and they found him apparently 
very weak and confined to his bed. These gentlemen delayed about an hour at the Falls, and when 
they reached the seminary they were told that the bishop was in the hall in which the exercises were 
being held. They could not believe this, and said that they left the bishop very sick in bed at his home 
in Buffalo, and they were very much astonished on entering the hall to behold Bishop Ryan, the guest 
of honor at the commencement exercises. 

Although Bishop Ryan's long reign was peaceful and free from any great opposition or trouble, 
yet, like his predecessor he had his cross also to bear. This was inevitable in a very large diocese 
like Buffalo, made up of so many different elements and nationalities. Misunderstanding could 
easily arise from the difference of temperaments and language, and the great cross of Bishop Ryan's 
life was the disaffection of the Poles. Difficulties had existed for some time in some of the parishes 
of East Buffalo ; and these caused the bishop very great annoyance. In one case in St. Adelbert's 
Church the finances were not properly managed; and after several investigations and warnings, the 
bishop and his council concluded that the only way to remedy the existing state of affairs was to remove 
the pastor and place at the head of the congregation a priest upon whose financial ability the bishop 
could rely. The pastor was very popular with some of his people, and his removal only made matters - 
worse. Very few of them could understand English, and they were not properly informed by interested 
parties for the reason of their beloved pastor's removal. They were even mis-informed, and they 
became very bitter in their opposition to the action of the bishop. The bishop found it necessary to 
leave them without a priest for a few weeks, in the hope that they would realize that they were in oppo- 
sition to church authority; but this act only seemed to incense them all the more against the bishop. 
A pastor was finally placed over the congregation who was an intelligent pastor and an able financier. 
Many of the people, however, seemed to be imbued with the idea that the bishop was not in sympathy 
with their wishes, nor willing to please them in the appointment of priests that they would desire. 
They even understood that the bishop would not treat them fairly, because they were Poles ; and the 
natural dislike for him arising from this idea led them gradually away from the Church. At this time 
in a few places of the country congregations of Poles were being formed into independent parishes, 
by men who were not priests, or who were priests in opposition to church authority. One of these 
came to Buffalo, and he found a ready field among the dissaffected Poles of East Buffalo for the organiza- 
tion of an independent church. A parish was soon organized with about one hundred families, and 
these formed a congregation which was called the parish of the Holy Rosary. These were simple 
and uneducated people, and they did not understand, and perhaps do not understand to this day, that 


they are not Catholics the same as their forefathers were. They see the services performed nearly the 
same as they did when they were under the jurisdiction of the Catholic bishop of Buffalo, and they 
are told that they are Catholics in everything the same as their fore-fathers were, except that they are 
not under the jurisdiction of the Irish bishop. 

Bishop Ryan loved the Church, and he loved his people irrespective of race or nationality; and the 
great sorrow of liis life was to see these poor misguided Polish people led away from the Church through 
a misunderstanding which he did not seem capable of rectifying. It was no fault of the bishop that 
this disaffection occurred. The same thing occurred in other cities, but Bishop Ryan was very sensi- 
tive and felt the great responsibility of all the souls committed to his care; and the loss of this large 
number was almost as great an affliction to him as the impending loss of his own soul. This was the 
great sorrow of his episcopate, and like the anonymous letters sent to his predecessor it weighed very 
heavily upon his soul and affected his health. 

With the more frequent occurrence of the sick spells, to which he was subjected, the bishop began 
to realize that his health was failing. The duties of the large diocese of Buffalo, with its extensive 
territory, demanded a great deal of attention from the bishop,and would require a man of active physical 
powers to fill all the duties of this office. Bishop Ryan thought of selecting some one as his coadjutor, 
who might relieve him from some of the onerous duties of office and who might succeed him in the 
episcopate. He called the electors of the diocese together, and informed them that he would very 
much like to have Bishop Kane of Wheeling selected as his coadjutor with the right of succession. 
He did not urge this upon them but merely expressed his wish. They, however, could not agree in 
their choice, and the bishop let the matter rest. On the death of Father Gleason, in 1895, who had 
been the bishop's able assistant and vicar-general all through his episcopate. Bishop Ryan called 
Father Lanigan into the city, and made him rector of the cathedral and vicar-general of the diocese. 
He may have had an idea that his new gicar-general might be selected as his successor, but he never 
expressed any further wish, and death came before he could make any other selection. Notwithstanding 
his weakness he journeyed to Baltimore for the investiture of the Apostolic Delegate, Mgr. SatoUi, 
and proceeded to Washington for the opening of McMahon Hall, at the Catholic University. This 
was the last time that he left Buffalo, and it was only his love for the representative of the Holy See 
and his interest in the university that induced him to leave Buffalo at that time. He gradually became 
weaker, and said his last mass on the feast of the Annunciation, 1896, and finally died on the morning 
of April 10th, 1896. 

The whole city mourned Bishop Ryan, as if he were the spiritual father of the entire western part 
of the State instead of the Catholic community. Expressions of sympathy in all the public papers 
manifested the feelings of the people without distinction of creed or nationality. The concluding 
paragraph of The Enquirer is as follows: "A simple, honest, strenuous and noble life has come to 
a close after scattering many beneficent influences on its way, and a pure soul has entered into eternal 
rest." The News said: "To all the community he stood as the prudent head of a great organiza- 
tion, devoted to the best interests of man. The conservator of morals and of spiritual life and a repre- 
sentative of the unseen influences which dominate human lives for good. All classes recognize in 
him a good man and all will realize in his death a loss to the whole community." The Courier 
said: "He was loved by priest and layman, by Catholic and Protestant. His character stands out 
to be admired by all men. Charity, patience, justice, honor, gratitude and love of peace were among 
his characteristic qualities. He illustrated by his daily walk and conversation without ostentation the 
life of a Christian man;" The Times had the following upon his character: "It is stories of 
such lives as his which come to us too rarely. His was a life which translates to earth the story of the 
Divine Christ as nearly as is ever given to man to translate it. To everyone who came within the 
influence of his life must come the deepest sorrow, tempered with the thankfulness that he lived and 
that his life was one that taught peace and good will and justice, the virtues we strive for, but fail in 
the achieving," and The Commercial says: "The entire community will feel a keen sense of loss 
at the passing away of this good man, upright citizen and Christian bishop. He was of such a kindly, 
gentle nature and had lived among us so long that all classes knew him, respected him and loved him ; 
and The Express had the following to say of him: "Bishop Ryan was generally spoken of as an 
able administrator. He was also in point of fact an eloquent speaker and a profound theologian. 
His mind was richly stored with the learning of his Church. He had served her in many countries, 
and had added much knowledge of men and affairs to his accumulation of book lore. He left a large 
liberality of conscience to his priests and laymen. He did his duty as a citizen. He was interested 
in all movements for the public good. His death is an occasion of general regret." 


A general mass meeting was held in Music Hall by the citizens of Buffalo two days after Bishop 
Ryan's death, and the following resolutions were passed under the auspices of the Protestant ministers 
of the city: 

"Whereas, God in his all wise Providence has removed from us the venerable and venerated 
head of the Roman Catholic Church in this diocese, the Rt. Rev. Stephen V. Ryan, D. D., and 

Whereas, At this hour his mortal remains are being tenderly borne from his episcopal residence, 
until the time of his burial, therefore 

Resolved, That we, a body of Christians, representing forty Protestant congregations, assembled 
in Music Hall for special evangelistic services, express our esteem for the personal character and public 
services of Bishop Ryan, and our sense of the loss to education, temperance, morality and religion, 
sustained by this community and by this diocese, audit is our hope that the good work commenced by 
him may be continued by a worthy successor. The workman may die, but the work is immortal. 
We hereby extend to his associates, the great body of communicants and to the members of the religious 
orders interested, our Christian sympathy." 

From all over the land came similar expressions of sympathy and of regret, for Bishop Ryan was 
loved and honored wherever he was known. The head of the Church in America, Cardinal Gibbons, 
wrote that his death was a loss to the diocese of Buffalo and a personal loss to him, because in his death 
he lost a devoted friend. The Church News of Washington voiced the general opinion of the public 
outside of the diocese when it said : "The death of the Rt. Rev. Bishop of Buffalo is a loss not only to 
the diocese over which he so successfully ruled, but to the Church in America. Bishop Ryan did a 
great work and was loved and respected far and wide." 

Bishop Ryan died in his residence on Delaware Avenue, and his body was borne to the cathedral 
on Sunday afternoon, April 12th, accompanied by an immense crowd. Tuesday, April 14th, was 
the date fixed for the services in the cathedral. Father Lanigan, who was appointed administrator 
of the diocese, endeavored to secure Archbishop Ryan as the orator to deliver a panegyric over his 
departed namesake, as he had preached on the other two great occasions of his episcopate, — his conse- 
cration and his silver jubilee, — but the archbishop had other very pressing engagements and could not 
come. It was only at the last moment that Father Lanigan was able to induce the great archbishop 
of the West, John Ireland, to preach at the funeral of his friend. Archbishop Ireland was already in 
Chicago when he got the request to preach, and he sent a despatch stating that he would say something 
on the occasion. Great man as Archbishop Ireland is, and orator, he perhaps never preached a more 
impressive sermon than he did on this occasion. The vast audience was' profoundly moved by his 
eloquent and touching tribute to the saintly life just ended. He concluded his magnificent discourse 
with these words : "Let no one go hence without feeling that he is nearer to God for having been nearer 
to Bishop Ryan." The archbishop of New York, Most Rev. Michael Corrigan, was celebrant of the 
mass ; and in the sanctuary were : Archbishop Ireland of St. Paul ; Archbishop Fabre, of Montreal ; 
Archbishop Walsh, of Toronto; Archbishop Cleary, of Kingston; Bishop Mullen, of Erie; Bishop 
McGovern, of Harrisburg; Bishop Foley, of Detroit; Bishop Tierney, of Hartford ; Bishop McQuaid, 
of Rochester; Bishop Ludden, of Syracuse; Bishop Burke, of Albany; Bishop Gabriels, of Ogdens- 
burg; Bishop McDonald, of Brooklyn, and Bishop McFaul, of Trenton. Nearly all the priests of 
the diocese were present, and nearly one hundred other clerawnen from places outside of the diocese 
of Buffalo. At the conclusion of the services the remains wm* placed alongside of those of his prede- 
cessor. Bishop Timon, whom he resembled in his saintliness of life and his de'C^otedness to labor in 
the cause of His Master. 



HE decrees of the Third Plenary Council of Baltimore which was held in 1886, were pro- 
mulgated by Bishop Ryan shortly after they were approved by the Holy Father. These de- 
crees authorized the establishment of irremovable rectors in all the dioceses of the United 
States, and gave to these irremovable rectors the power and rights of pastors of canoni- 
cally established parishes. Every tenth parish, which could verify certain conditions, was 
entitled to the right of having an irremovable rector. Amongst the other rights of the irremovable 
rectors was the right of suffrage in the election of bishops. The first two bishops of Buffalo were re- 
markable men. They were learned and holy, and able financiers, and guided the diocese wisely and 
successfully. There were other men of their order who were equally well fitted for the episcopal 
office ; and under similar conditions, on the same selecting and appointing power, one of these relig- 
ious would in all probability have been the successor of Bishop Ryan, but when the right of selection 
was transferred to the local clergy, it was quite evident that these would select some eminent man from 
their own diocese to rule over them as their bishop. 

After the death of bishop Ryan the irremovable rectors and the councilors were called to a meeting 
to express in writing their choice for a new bishop. Archbishop Corrigan presided at this meeting, 
and it did not take the electors long to express their choice. Dr. Quigley had been for some years 
rector of the cathedral, and was well and favorably known to all the priests. He had gone to school 
in Buffalo, and had spent many of his early years in this city. He had passed through a very creditable 
college course both in the United States and in Europe. He knew German and Italian, was a good 
theologian and a clear-headed speaker. All these qualities recommended him to the electors as a 
suitable successor to Bishop Ryan. The names of two other good men were also placed on the list, 
and the bishops of the province gave their approval to the choice of the priests. The Holy Father 
selected the candidate who represented the choice of the priests and had the sanction of the bishops, 
and appointed him the third bishop of Buffalo. 

Dr. Quigley was consecrated by Archbishop Corrigan in St. Joseph's Cathedral, Buffalo, on the 
24th of February, 1897. Bishop McQuaid, of Rochester, and Bishop McDonnell, of Brooklyn, 
assisted in the consecration ceremonies. The great Dominican orator. Father McKenna, preached 
an eloquent sermon on the occasion. The other dignitaries who were present were: Archbishop 
Walsh, of Toronto; Bishop Gabriels, of Ogdensburg; Bishop McFaul, of Trenton; Bishop Wigger, 
of Newark, and Bishop Burke, of Albany. 

The diocese of Buffalo had made wonderful strides in the almost half century from the time of 
its formation. In 1866 Bishop Timon requested Rome to divide his diocese. He realized that the 
work was too much for one bishop, and the territory too vast to make episcopal visitations convenient 
or, in some cases, even possible. Shortly after Bishop Timon's death the diocese was divided and another 
was established at Rochester. There were four counties extending in a line down along the southern 
line of the diocese, and they were known as "The Southern Tier." These were perhaps more con- 
venient to Rochester than to Buffalo, and their addition to the diocese of Rochester would equalize 
these two important dioceses in the western portion of the State. Shortly after Bishop Ryan's death 
these four counties, viz.: Steuben, Schuyler, Chemung and Tioga, were detached from the Buffalo 
diocese and became subject to the Bishop of Rochester. 

Bishop Quigley knew the diocese of Buffalo thoroughly, and was intimately acquainted with all 
the priests, religious and the institutions under his jurisdiction. He was prepared therefore to inaug- 
urate any changes or undertakings he might have in view from the time of his consecration. He im- 
mediately appointed the Rev. Michael P. Connery as vicar-general, and in him he had an efficient and 
faithful co-worker and administrator of the affairs of the diocese when he himself was absent. The 
priests and people of the diocese knew him well, and had confidence in his ability and wisdom; and 
they were ready to undertake any work he suggested or to inaugurate works of their own in their 


parishes, fully confident that they would have the bishop's approval and encouragement. He knew 
the ability and past work and undertakings of his priests ; and he knew how to advise them, consequently, 
in their projects for the welfare of their people or for the institutions of the diocese. Almost immediately 
after his consecration numerous churches were started in different parts of the diocese, of costly material 
and artistic designs. People and priests went to work with a will to build up the institutions in their 
parishes or to help along the general institutions of the diocese, because they understood that the bishop 
knew well their financial resources; and they were only too willing to show that they were ready to 
make sacrifices for the Church when their efforts were known and properly appreciated by the head 
of the diocese. Never before had so many fine church buildings been projected, in new parishes or 
in the older settled congregations, as during the period of Bishop Quigley's episcopate. Confidence 
in the diocese was the secret of the wonderful impetus to the material progress of the Church in the 
diocese of Buffalo. The priests had confidence in the bishop and the people had confidence in their 
priests, and this confidence gave financial security to all their undertakings. 

For some time after Bishop Quigley's consecration the socialists and anarchists had been extend- 
ing their propaganda, and instilling into the minds of the working people of East Buffalo their peculiar 
theories. They made a special effort to inoculate the labor unions with their principles. There was 
a paper published principally, in their interests, called the Arbeiter Zeitung, which was edited for a time 
by the notorious Herr Moest. As soon as they had obtained a foothold at East Buffalo, and had con- 
verted seemingly many of the working men to their way of thinking, they became emboldened and 
openly proclaimed theories which were inimical to Church and State. The Rev. Dr. Heiter, pastor of 
the church of the Seven Dolors, however, was on the alert and warned his people of the evil tendencies 
of the theories that were being openly advocated, as the true interests of the laboring men and of union 
labor. Dr. Heiter was able and learned and co-editor of the Volksfreund, and through this paper he 
combated the anarchistic theories of Herr Moest and his circle of fellow-anarchists. Dr. Heiter's 
idea was to form a union of the Catholic laboring men of the city, to oppose the principles that were 
being instilled into the labor unions through the socialist party. Several meetings were held, and once 
that the Catholic laboring men realized that the socialists were teaching doctrines inimical to their 
Church, they became very determined in their opposition to these theories and resolved to force them 
from the labor unions. Bishop Quigley issued a pastoral letter to the German pastors of the city and 
diocese, advising them to warn their people against the danger of the theories advocated by the socialists 
through means of the labor unions. The meetings held under the auspices of Dr. Heiter, and the 
effect of the bishop's pastoral, culminated in an immense mass meeting held at St. Ann's Hall, Sunday 
afternoon, March 2nd, 1902. The German Catholic pastors of the city invited the laboring men of 
their parishes to attend this meeting ; and an immense audience of men assembled in the vast hall on 
this occasion, as a protest against the adoption of socialistic or anarchistic theories by the labor unions. 
The Rev. John Pfluger was the first speaker. He had been a delegate at the National Convention at 
Cincinnati of the Catholic societies of America; and he submitted a resolution which was adopted at 
that convention, urging the consolidation of all the Catholic societies in one body. Mr. J. B. Bauerlein, 
who presided at the meeting, then announced Bishop Quigley as the orator of the meeting. Bishop 
Quigley said he came to this meeting and took an interest in this subject because socialism claimed that 
the Church was in league with capital, and was, consequently, opposed to the interests of labor. He 
also said that if social democracy became strong here it would make infidels of the people. The 
socialists are powerful in Berlin, and there they showed the effects of their doctrines in the large infidel 
population. In Berlin there is a population of over two million, yet there are only fifty-nine churches 
in the city, whilst in Buffalo, with one-sixth the population of Berlin there are at present thirty-nine 
Catholic churches alone and many more in process of construction ; and the churches of other denomina- 
tions would run this number up to a higher point than the entire number at Berlin. Socialists may 
deny that they are opposed to Church or State, but Herr Bebel, the socialist leader, declares that the 
Church and social democracy are as irreconcilable as fire and water. The Rev. Jas. Rockliff also spoke 
against the principles of socialism and anarchy. The Rev. Dr. Heiter introduced then a set of resolu- 
tions, which the assemblage adopted with unanimity. In the first place they thanked the bishop for 
his presence and his explanation of the position of the Church in relation to the principles involved in 
socialism; then they expressed their determination to expunge from the labor unions every vestige of 
social democracy; in the third place, they condemned the principles of socialism which proclaims that 
the welfare of the working men depends upon the collective ownership by the city of all the means of 
production. The assemblage fully agreed with the bishop that working men should take spiritual 
teaching from the Church and not from social democrats. 


This meeting and the bold and pronounced views of Bishop Quigley made a prof ound impression, 
not only upon the Catholic working men of Buffalo, but also upon the Catholic working men and labor 
unions throughout the country. The socialists were also deeply impressed with the sudden turning 
of the tide. They had for some time a free field, and had met with some success in advocating their 
theories among the working men. They had apparently convinced a great many of the working men in 
the United States that their interests depended upon the collective ownership of the means of production. 
They told their dupes that private ownership was what made individuals wealthy, with the unearned 
increment which arose from the system of private ownership. They did not look for such early and 
pronounced opposition to their theories ; and the notes of warning of Dr. Heiter surprised them, and 
the outspoken attitude of Bishop Quigley astonished them. 

News of this great meeting in Buffalorapidly spread throughout the land, and the wise men and 
great orators of the socialists consulted in regard to the best means to stem the tide of defeat which 
seemed to be fast coming upon them. Two meetings were organized for Buffalo ; and the ablest and 
most eloquent orators of the socialists were appointed to attend these meetings to offset, if possible, 
the effect of the great meeting at St. Ann's, and to explain away the opposition of Bishop Quigley to 
their propaganda. Dr. Heiter attended the most important of these meetings, and the few 
questions he propounded to their two great orators completely confused them. The first 
speaker said that Bishop Quigley was mistaken, that socialism was not opposed to Church 
teaching. The address of this speaker did not seem to please the audience, which was evi- 
dently in sympathy with socialist doctrines. The next speaker openly denounced the Church 
and her teaching; and he said the Church was the friend of the capitalists, and as an instance of 
this he said that the recently deceased Bishop Ryan died leaving an estate to his relatives of over two 
million dollars. Dr. Heiter called the speaker to account, and explained that the two million dollars 
were church property of which Bishop Ryan was merely trustee, and that he had no personal estate 
except a membership in the C. M. B. A., and a few hundred dollars. The orator was obliged to 
apologize for his mis-statement. Dr. Heiter then asked him if he were an atheist, and he acknowledged 
that he was. Then Dr. Heiter asked if socialism necessarily lead a man to atheism. He replied that 
the true socialist must also be an atheist. This man's answer were the strongest confirmation of the 
position taken by the bishop, and of the necessity for his interference with the labor unions in behalf 
of Catholic working men. This was the first pronounced opposition of any bishop in the United 
States to socialist doctrines as they were being urged upon the labor unions, under the guise of benefits 
to the working man. Archbishop Corrigan of New York had preached in his cathedral some sermons 
on the subject of socialism, but as they were delivered in the cathedral they did not make much of an 
impression upon the public ; but Bishop Quigley's condemnation of socialistic theories in the interests 
of working men was published throughout the United States, and it brought the bishop of Buffalo 
prominently before the public ; and the Catholic working men, as well as the church authorities, looked 
upon him as a champion of their rights. 

Chicago is the hot-bed of socialism in the United States, and it was but natural that when 
the Catholic head of that great archdiocese died that the church authorities there should look upon 
the gifted bishop of Buffalo as an available successor to their deceased archbishop, and a fit incumbent 
of the great see of Chicago. Bishop Quigley's name was on the list of the electors, and he was con- 
sidered by Rome as the most suitable candidate for the archiepiscopal See. He made a short pleasure 
trip to Mexico in January of 1903, before the final notice of his elevation reached him. After his 
return to Buffalo another great meeting was held of the working men of the German parishes to bid 
him farewell, and to thank him for the interest he had taken in their welfare. Before departing for 
Chicago he took leave of his priests and people in St. Joseph's Cathedral. 


When Bishop Quigley was selected for the Archiepiscopal See of Chicago the Very Rev. M. P. 
Connery was appointed administrator of the diocese of Buffalo. Shortly afterwards a meeting of the 
electors was called to select a successor to Bishop Quigley. The candidates decided upon by the 
majority of the electors were not acceptable to the bishops of the province, and at the meeting of the 
latter a new list was substituted, with the Rev. Charles H. Colton, of New York, as dignissimus. 

Father Colton was long and favorably known as chancellor of the archdiocese and rector of St. 
Stephan's parish, and he was appointed by the Pope to succeed Dr. Quigley. He was consecrated in St. 
Patrick's Cathedral, New York, August 24, 1903, by Archbishop Farley, assisted by Bishop McQuade 
of Rochester and Bishop McDonnell of Brooklyn, and he became the fourth Bishop of Buffalo. 


History of 
Parishes and Institutions. 



ilSHOP TIMON'S earliest longing was for a grand cathedral which would be an ornament 
to the city, a credit to the diocese, and a house of worship worthy of Almighty God 
and the services to which it would be dedicated. Little St. Patrick's was filled to 
overflowing. The city was rapidly extending westward toward the Terrace, and to the 
east and to the north houses were springing up. The zealous bishop had his 
heart fixed upon a great cathedral church. In 1850 he issued a pastoral to urge his priests and 
people to assist in the great work. "Beloved brethren," he writes, "the wants of the faithful 
who, from all parts of the diocese, come to the episcopal city of BufiFalo, the wants of our brethren 
in this city who have not church room, the wants of religion in general concurring with the wish of 
each generous heart, pressing to give visible and lasting expression of adoring gratitude to our Divine 
Benefactor; all point to one great object: To the erection of a monument to Him, the Conqueror of 
death and hell; and this monument will be a Holy Temple, to His honor, a Catholic church." The 
bishop enjoined daily prayers in every home, and a special prayer in the mass for the success of the 
undertaking; and he ordered that subscription lists should be opened in every church, and the lists 
thus filled should be preserved in a book in the cathedral where a mass would be said every Easter 
Sunday for the living, and one on All Souls' Day for the dead benefactors "till time shall be no more." 

The following gentlemen were constituted a building committee: Wm. Carland, John Koch, 
Geo. Deuther, E. Thomas, James Mallin, Patrick Milton, Henry Diehl. The Rev. Peter Bede was 
made treasurer of the fund. 

Where would he build ? How would he obtain the money ? What kind of a building would he 
erect ? The first question was the most easily solved. The Squires property on Washington Street 
offered a favorable location, and this was purchased in May, 1848, as a site for the future cathedral. 
This plot was afterwards transferred to the Jesuits, and forms the present site of St. Michael's Church 
and Canisius College. 

The bishop started for Europe in 1849, to obtain assistance in solving the other two problems. 
The Holy Father gladdened his heart with a donation of $2,000 for his proposed cathedral ; and he 
obtained about $4,000 more and vestments and valuable works of art from other notable personages 
in Europe. 

The bishop had also considered another site for the location of his proposed cathedral. This 
was known as Webster's Gardens. They were located at the corner of Swan and Franklin Streets, 
which was considered at that time a very convenient site for the cathedral. The bishop secured this 
site (1) September 28, 1850, from Mr. George Webster. The congregation began with services in a 
small frame cottage on the Terrace side of the property, on the site where the brick building was after- 
wards erected for St. Joseph's College. This was called St. Joseph's Chapel, and was in charge of the 
Rev. Peter Colgan, and later was under the care of Father Corbett of the Oblates. 

The bishop selected Mr. Keely of Brooklyn as the architect for his cathedral, and to him he con- 
fided the ideas he had stored up in his mind, from visiting the great churches of Europe, for one of the 
beautiful churches of America. 

Ground was broken for the building on February 2, 1851, and the corner-stone was laid by Bishop 
Timon on the sixth day of the same month before an immense concourse of people, including the mayor 
and many of the officials of the city. The work was pushed rapidly and the building was completed 
by the first of July, 1855, and was solemnly dedicated on the sixth day of the same month. 

The dedication service brought a great concourse of ecclesiastical dignitaries to Buffalo. Two 
archbishops were present and took part in the ceremonies. Archbishop Hughes preached at the high 
mass, and Archbishop Kenrick consecrated the main altar. The following bishops were also present : 

(1) The adjoining property on which St. Stephen's Hall stands was owned by Colonel H. Blossom. 


McCloskey, LougUin, McGill, O'Rielly, Henni, Rappe, Young, Postier, O'Connor, Charbonnell and 
Spaulding (1). Bishop McCloskey of Albany pontificated, and Bishop Loughlin of Brooklyn con- 
secrated the church. Bishop Henni preached at vespers in German, and Bishop Spaulding at the 
evening services in English. 

The estimated cost of the cathedral was $150,000, and Bishop Timon travelled over the greater 
portion of the civilized world to obtain money to pay off the debt on his cherished cathedral. So 
well did he succeed that on August 20, 1863, he had the building consecrated before another great 
assemblage of bishops, priests and people. 

The building is 200 feet long, 100 feet wide in the transept, and 80 feet wide in the nave. The 
ceiling is 75 feet in height, and it is 90 feet to the gable of the roof. It was intended to have two lofty 
and massive towers on the front of the building; but only the southern tower was completed, and this 
was shortened several feet from the original plans. In this tower is located the famous chime of 
bells. They are 43 in number, and were made in 1866, at Paris, France. A large cylinder with a 
key-board was attached to the mechanism of the chime, by which the bells may be played like an 

organ. • j i t.- i. 

The bells were placed in position and were blessed by Bishop Ryan m 1866, assisted by Bishops 

Lynch, McQuaid and O'Farrell. 

Many notable priests labored in the cathedral, as rector or assistant. Prior to 1871, the vicar 
general of the diocese was generally located at the cathedral, and performed the duties of rector of 
the cathedral along with those of the vicar general. The chancellor was also located here, and was 
generally one of the assistants of the cathedral parish. 

The bishop had scarcely any oflacial residence in the diocese for the first few years after his advent. 
He was continually traveling through his vast diocese, visiting his people and organizing congregations; 
and he left the management of St. Patrick's, which he never dignified by the name of cathedral, to 
one of the young priests whom he had associated with himself in this work. 

The Very Rev. Peter Bede was the first rector of St. Joseph's Cathedral, and he retained this 
position until the Rev. Francis O'Farrell was appointed vicar general of the diocese. Father O'Far- 
rell was rector of the cathedral from 1856 to 1864, excepting a few months, when he was in Europe. 

The Rev. Wm. Gleason succeeded Father O'Farrell as vicar general of the diocese and rector of 
the cathedral in 1864, and he continued as rector of the cathedral until he was appointed pastor of 
St. Bridget's, in January, 1871. 

The Rev. John McEvoy succeeded Father Gleason at the cathedral; and he continued in this 
position until his health gave way, and in 1876 he took up his residence in California. 

The Rev. Edward Kelly succeeded Father McEvoy, and he faithfully fulfilled the dual duties of 
rector of the cathedral and chancellor of the diocese until Dr. Hoelscher relieved him of the burden 
of the latter office. He resigned the other office in 1885, and was succeeded by the Rev. James Quigley, 
D. D. Dr. Quigley filled this difficult post until the death of Bishop Ryan, when the Rev. James 
Lannigan was appointed administrator of the diocese. Father Lannigan directed the offices of the 
cathedral until the new bishop appointed the present rector, the Rev. John D. Biden. 

All the rectors of the cathedral were men of ability and energy, and many of them added to the 
attractiveness of the building by interior decorations and furnishings; but its greatest beauty are the 
graceful Gothic outlines and the gloomy grey grandeur of this masterpiece of church architecture. 

The cathedral priests lived with the bishop in the old building, which was bought with the prop- 
erty, until 1870, when they dwelt for a short time in the old Revere Block. Later they moved to the 
house adjoining the cathedral on Franklin Street, and here they dwelt until they removed to the 
present priests' palace. 

The Chapel of Our Lady of Mary on the Island is attached to the cathedral, and is regularly 
attended by one of the priests from there on Sundays. This little congregation was organized and 
the chapel built under the supervision of the Rev. Dr. Hoelscher, when he was stationed at the cathedral 
as chancellor of the diocese. It was here that the present vicar general. Very Rev. Nelson Baker, 
and the Rev. Daniel Walsh began their missionary career by assembling the children on Sundays 
and teaching them their prayers and the rudiments of Christian doctrine. 

(1) The great Cathedrals and Churches of the World. Maher. 



Shortly after Bishop Timon came to Buffalo he created the pastor of St. Louis' Church vicar 
general for the Germans of the diocese. This was the Very Rev. Francis Guth, and he filled this 
office until he retired from the diocese. He was succeeded in office by Very Rev. Joseph Raffeiner, 
Very Rev. A. Samogyi, Very Rev. Serge de Schoulipnikoff, Very Rev. F. N. Sester. All these were 
men of ability and learning, and reflected credit on the diocese and on the people they represented. 


The Polish population of Buffalo increased very rapidly after the new St. Stanislaus Church was 
built, and even this large building was scarcely sufficient to accommodate the numbers coming there 
on Sundays to attend the services. There was also an unruly element amongst the Poles at that time, 
fostered particularly by rivals who were anxious to obtain a leadership amongst the Poles or be recog- 
nized by them as their most prominent men. About 1886 Bishop Ryan decided to establish another 
parish for the growing number of Poles. Two years previous the unruly element in St. Stanislaus 
Church attempted to establish an independent parish. They secured property, and began the con- 
struction of a large frame building; but the natural elements conspired against the unnatural element 
of rebellion amongst the Poles, and their incompleted frame structure was destroyed by a great wind 
storm. The partially finished building was blown into the street, and this put an end for a time to the 
aspirations of the independent Poles. 

Bishop Ryan hoped that the establishment of a new Polish parish would reconcile these warring 
elements, and would furnish further accommodations for the Polish Catholics of East Buffalo. A 
large tract of land, bounded by Rother Avenue, Kosciuszko Street and Stanislaus Street was purchased 
on the 3rd of September, 1886, and the new parish was dedicated to St. Adelbert, one of the patron 
saints of Poland. A large frame building was erected on this property, and the parish was soon making 
rapid progress on its career of prosperity when the building was destroyed by fire. There was not 
very heavy insurance on the building, but the people were generous, and steps were soon taken to erect 
a more substantial building on the church property. Father Klawiter was at the head of the parish 
at this time, and, on account of the financial burden. Bishop Ryan decided to place another priest at 
the head of the parish. The unruly element which had been quiet since the natural elements de- 
stroyed their attempted church building, again manifested its existence by open rebellion to the bishop's 
orders. For some months there was open rupture between the church authorities and the unruly 
people of this parish. The unruly element was encouraged by the same few designing men who had 
caused the trouble some years before in St. Stanislaus' parish. They finally broke out in open rebellion 
against the authority of the bishop, and established what is known as the Independent Polish Church. 

The rebellion of this large number of Polish people from church authority was the great sorrow 
of Bishop Ryan's life. He did everything possible to conciliate them; but they were misinformed by 
evil-minded men, and they were also under the impression, as they are to this day, that they were 
faithful Catholics in communion with the Catholic Church and the Pope of Rome, but not under the 
immediate jurisdiction of an Irish bishop, who, they believed, did not understand their customs and 
was not in sympathy with their aspirations. Father Lex, a very good and learned man, guided the 
affairs of the parish for some time during this troublesome period, when he was succeeded by the 
present pastor, the Rev. Thos. Flaczek. Father Flaczek has directed the affairs of the parish for 
some years, and peace has finally settled over this once turbulent congregation. 


There was a considerable settlement of Germans a mile or two beyond the stock yards in 1880. 
Many of these were Catholics, and were two or three miles from the nearest church. In 1882 Bishop 
Ryan directed the Rev. Otto Hogenforst, S. J., of St. Ann's Church, to take the Catholic census of 
that district to ascertain the number of Catholic families who might form a new congregation. The 


Rev. P. Hoelscher, D. D., who was then chancellor of the diocese, completed the census, and upon his 
report steps were taken to organize a new parish. Property was bought in September, 1883, on Ben- 
zinger Street, and soon a little frame structure was erected and the church was ready for services on 
the 9th day of December, 1883. There were about one hundred and thirty-five families in the new 
parish at the time of its formation, and Dr. Hoelscher guided the destinies of the infant parish until 
his departure for Europe in April, 1884. During Dr. Hoelscher's absence the Rev. Peter Trauscht, 
the assistant of Father Baker at West Seneca, took charge of St. Agnes' parish. 

The Rev. Chas. Schaus was appointed pastor of St. Agnes' in August, 1884. Father Schaus went 
to work with a will, and he soon erected a commodious school building, a convent for the sisters, and 
a comfortable parochial residence for the pastor. He also added a large plot of ground to the property 
to provide for future growth. Father Schaus was succeeded in March, 1893, by the Rev. Jos. Fischer. 
Father Fischer completed the addition to the school building commenced by Father Schaus, and in the 
following five years he paid off the indebtedness on the church property. The church and school 
buildings were intended merely for the temporary accommodations of the congregation at the time 
of their erection. The future growth of the parish was problematic at that time, and the buildings 
were erected to provide for present wants. After paying off the indebtedness. Father Fischer began 
to accumulate funds for the erection of permanent buildings. He has already formed plans for a fine 
church building, which he hopes to begin in a short time. The new church will be of brick in Roman- 
esque style, and will be in keeping with the growth and importance of this parish. 


The city grew in an easterly direction very rapidly from the year 1850, and it soon became neces- 
sary to organize another parish for the Germans eastward of St. Mary's congregation. Bishop Timon 
secured a plot of land from Mr. S. V. Watson on Emslie Street, near Broadway, in 1857, and this he 
transferred to the Jesuits, who soon erected a little brick church, school and priest's house for the new 
congregation. The corner-stone of the church was laid on the 25th of March, 1858, and the little 
building was dedicated on the 20th of June of the same year by Father Krautbauer, during the bishop's 
absence in Europe. For some time the church was attended from St. Michael's until the Rev. J. 
Vetter, S. J., was appointed the first resident pastor, in July, 1858. Father Caveng, who was superior 
of the order in Buffalo at the time, superintended the work of organizing the new parish and started 
it wisely on its career of prosperity. 

The parish increased rapidly, and it soon became necessary to provide more room for the growing 
numbers of this prosperous parish. A handsome piece of property was secured on Broadway, and 
preparations were made for the erection of a very handsome church building. A brother of the order 
had studied architecture, and he drew the plans for a handsome Gothic church building. This was 
brother Halfmann, who succeeded in erecting one of the handsomest Gothic structures in the city. 
The lines are graceful and the style harmonious, and the building recalls some of the famous Gothic 
cathedrals of Germany and France. The foundation of the new church was begun in April, 1878, 
when the Rev. Wm. Roether, S. J., was rector of St. Ann's, and the corner-stone was laid on the 26th 
of August, 1878, by Bishop Ryan. Work progressed slowly on the new building, because under the 
wise guidance of the rector, work and material were paid for as the building advanced, and the entire 
structure was completed in 1886 at a cost of $120,000.00. Everything in the building was paid for, 
except the furniture and furnishings, on the day of consecration, which took place the third Sunday 
in May, 1886. The ceremony was performed by Bishop Ryan in the presence of a great congregation 
and a large number of priests. 

The school accommodations next engaged the attention of the priests of the parish. The increase 
of children at the school kept pace with the increased attendance at the church, and it soon became 
evident that a very large building would be necessary to accommodate the great flock of children in 
the parish. Plans were formed for a forty-room building, with a large hall the entire length and width 
of the building. Work was begun on the new structure in April, 1895, under the direction of the Rev. 
J. Kreusch, S. J., who was then rector of the parish. Classes were held on week-days in the church 
building until the new school structure was completed. Work was rushed on the new building, and 
it was ready for use and was solemnly blessed on the 15th of November, 1895. The cost of this mag- 


nificent school building, which was the largest parochial school building in the diocese, was $107,000.00. 
There are over 2,300 children in attendance at this school, which is the largest public or parochial 
school in the City of Buffalo, and is taught by thirty-two ststers of the Order of St. Francis. 

The priests who look after the interests of this immense congregation reside in a comfortable 
parochial residence on Watson Street, adjoining the magnificent stone church building. The following 
priests have had charge of St. Ann's congregation: The Rev. J. Vetter, S. J., from the foundation in 
the early spring of 1858, to August 28th, 1860; Rev. B. Fritsch, S. J., to October 7th, 1866; Rev. 
J. Blettner, S. J., to July 26th, 1870; Rev. I. Bellwalder, S. J., to September 7th, 1871 ; Rev. P. Spicher 
S. J., to July 9th, 1872; Rev. I. Bellwalder, S. J., to February 5th, 1875; Rev. W. Roether, S. J., to 
October, 1888; Rev. W. Kockerols, S. J., to December 29th, 1889; Rev. W. Roether, S. J., to Septem- 
ber 12th, 1891; Rev. J. Kreusch, S. J., to December 19th, 1896; Rev. W. Becker, S. J., to November 
15th, 1899; Rev. T. Hegemann, S. J., to July 2d, 1902; Rev. F. X. Neubrand, S. J., to August 28th, 
1903, when the Rev. V. Scheppach, S. J., was appointed pastor. 

This is the second largest congregation in the diocese. The number of children in the school 
gives a pretty fair indication of the number of people in the parish. Nearly all the children of school 
age attend the parochial school, and the people are very exact and faithful in their attendance at the 
church services, and the parish is well supplied with all the buildings necessary for a prosperous parish. 


When the Rev. Ed. Kelley retired from the rectorship of the cathedral he took charge of St. 
John the Baptist Church, at Lower Black Rock, and he immediately began the organization of a new 
parish in what was called the Upper Rock. This new parish comprised a portion of St. John the 
Baptist congregation and some of the Holy Angels' parish. Father Kelley bought a plot of land on 
Bouck Avenue, now Lafayette Avenue, near Grant Street, and soon afterwards began the erection of 
a temporary frame structure, which would serve the purpose of a church until a more substantial build- 
ing could be erected. In the fall of 1884 the little building was completed ; and Father Kelley opened 
the church to the new congregation, and took up his residence in a little cottage on the corner of Bouck 
Avenue and Grant Street. Father Kelley dwelt here, struggling along under the burden of debt, 
with his little congregation until his death in February, 1889, when he was succeeded by the Rev. J. 
Baxter. Soon after his advent Father Baxter moved into a rented building on Bouck Avenue, some 
distance from the church, and began the construction of the fine parochial residence which adjoins 
the new church. Father Baxter continued as pastor of the growing congregation until his death in 
September, 1892, when he was succeeded by the present pastor, the Rev. J. McGrath. 

Father McGra h found a large congregation of generous and faithful people, and he determined 
at once to erect a building which would be large enough to accommodate his people, and which would 
be in keeping with the importance of one of the foremost congregations of the diocese. He laid his 
plans for a stone structure, and he laid the corner-stone of the fine brown stone building in May, 1900. 
The work was pushed rapidly, and the building was ready for dedication in May of the year following. 
The church is complete in every respect, handsomely decorated, and well furnished with everything 
necessary for a commodious church building. 

A parochial school was started here by the sisters from Lockport in 1886, on land which they 
purchased, with the intention of conducting an academy and boarding school in connection with the 
parochial school of the parish. The church is situated in a fine locality, and the congregation still 
continues to increase in numbers and importance under the direction of this energetic pastor. 


Children of sunny Italy had their homes in Buffalo more than thirty years ago, but they did not 
form a distinctive part of the Church in the diocese until the Rev. Dr. Quigley, rector of St. Joseph's 
cathedral, organized them into a congregation. Before Dr. Quigley organized them into a quasi- 
parochial body, Mrs. Roffo watched over their spiritual interests with the solicitude of a spiritual sponsor; 


and when the hour of sickness came she would seek the Rev. Thomas Donohue, or one of the ItaHan 
priests at St. Patrick's, to administer the sacraments to her fellow countrymen. 

The subject of an Italian parish had been discussed and subscription lists had been signed about 
the year 1880; but nothing further was done until Dr. Quigley, under the direction of Bishop Ryan, 
assembled the Italians every Sunday in the chapel adjoining the cathedral, where services were held 
for them and they listened to instructions in their own tongue. The congregation grew apace, and 
it was soon evident that a large church would be necessary. Property on Court Street was bought; 
and the building was begun in 1891, and the corner-stone was laid on August 3d, of the same year by 
Bishop Ryan. The church was ready for services by Christmas, and the Rev. A. Gibelli was ap- 
pointed its first pastor. Father Gibelli remained two years, when the Rev. G. Annovazzi came for a 
few months until the Rev. L. Martinelli was appointed pastor. A school taught by the ladies of the 
Sacret Heart was started on the first floor of the church, and it is crowded with bright Italian children. 
Many Italian children attend public school No. 2, where their educational progress and religious 
instruction are fostered by principal C. L. Ryan, who is president of the Italian Borromeo Club. 

There are many religious societies connected with St. Anthony's Church, and there are several 
benevolent societies in the Italian colony; and these are aiding in making of the Italians good citizens 
of the State and faithful children of the Church. 


Polish people began to locate at Lower Black Rock, Buffalo, as early as 1882, and some time later 
property was secured at the corner of Amherst and Grant Streets, and the Rev. T. Kozlowsld erected 
a two-story brick building on this land which serves for church and school for a good-s'zed congregation. 
The Rev. James Wojcik built a fine parochial residence adjoining the church shortly after he took 
charge of the parish. The Rev. L. Chodacki is the present pastor. 


In the winter of 1886 Bishop Ryan was wearied with his long labors in the diocese, and found it 
necessary to seek a milder climate to regain his health, and he proceeded to California for rest. The 
cathedral residence had become undesirable on account of the many trains passing over the tracks 
adjoining the cathedral property, and on account of the many manufactories in the surrounding dis- 
trict. For some time prominent Catholics of the city had discussed the desirability of a more favorable 
location for the residence of their bishop. Whilst he was absent in California a handsome piece of 
property was secured on Delaware Avenue near Utica Street. This part of the city had grown rapidly 
in population for some years previous, and it became evident that a church would soon be necessary 
to accommodate the Catholics living in that part of the city. Preparations were made for the building 
of the chapel and also a handsome residence an Delaware Avenue for the bishop. The corner-stone 
of the chapel was laid in the summer of 1888, and the chapel was dedicated on the 26th day of May, 
1889. The first mass was said on that day by the Rev. James E. Quigley, D. D., who was then rector 
of St. Joseph's Cathedral. Bishop Ryan announced at the services that the Rev. Jas. F. McGloin 
would have charge of the chapel and the little congregation which would be organized in that district. 
The bishop took up his residence in his new home the same year. The congregation increased very 
rapidly, so much so that it was soon evident that before many years a larger church would be necessary 
to accommodate the increasing number of Catholics, who were securing homes in this pleasant part 
of the city. Father McGloin bought the handsome Newman property at the corner of Delaware 
Avenue and Utica Street in March, 1902. Here he hopes some day to have a handsome church, which 
will be an ornament to this part of the city and sufficiently large to accommodate one of the most 
important congregations of the diocese, and which will also be a suitable chapel for the head of one 
of the principal dioceses in the United States. 




In the spring of 1849 several Catholic families, living eastward from St. Louis' Church, decided 
to form a new congregation and to build a church for themselves. They bought two lots on Mulberry 
Street, and Mr. A. D. Patchen donated four more; and on this plot they started a frame building, 
25 feet by 60 feet. It was completed by May 15, 1849, and the Rev. Zacharias Kunze held services 
in the building as the first pastor of St. John's Church. A pastoral residence was also built this year, 
and they began the school building, which was ready for use the following spring. 

The church building was too small to accommodate the people in 1856, so an addition of forty 
feet was built, and a small tower was added for a bell. Father Kunze was succeeded in 1854 by the 
Rev. Rudolph FoUenius. The new pastor soon discovered that the little frame church was not large 
enough for his growing fold; and, after consultation with his people, he decided to erect a fine brick 
church. The corner-stone was laid in November, 1856, and so rapidly was the work pushed that the 
church was dedicated by Bishop Timon June 15th, of the following year. St. Boniface, the Apostle 
of Germany, was selected as the patron of the new church, and the parish ceased to be known as St. 

Father FoUenius died May 27, 1859, and the Rev. H. Feldman became pastor. He ornamented 
the intetior of the church and purchased more land for additional buildings. In 1861, a new two-story 
brick school house was erected. The Rev. John Janistowski followed Father Feldman in January, 
1864, and remained until March, 1866, when the Rev. John Soemer came and bought more land. 

The Rev. Nicholas Sorg succeeded Father Soemer in September, 1865, and remained pastor until 
1873. Father Sprg built a large addition to the church, and surmounted the building with a fine 
steeple. He also secured property for the residence of the teachers. 

The Rev. Henry Feldman succeeded Father Sorg in 1873, and soon after erected a pastoral resi- 
dence. He also enlarged the school building and added to the beauty and attractiveness of the church. 
The Rev. C.'Wagner came in the fall of 1880, after Father Feldman's death, and labored faithfully 
for four years, when he was taken away by Bishop Ryan on account of some trouble with the trustees. 
The bishop left the parish without a priest from January to June 5th, when the present pastor, the 
Rev. Ferdinand Kolb, was appointed. For nearly twenty years Father Kolb has labored with fidelity. 
He added to the attractiveness of the church ; he built a fine school for the children, and a commodious 
hall for the societies of the parish. In his quiet way he has effected much good. 


Soon after his arrival in Buffalo Bishop Timon organized a society of St. Vincent de Paul. Priests 
were scarce, and the bishop set the zealous members of this society at work, assembling on Sundays the 
scattered Catholic children in the remote parts of the city, to teach them catechism. Many Irish had 
settled in the old first ward, near the docks, and the heavy traffic business of the city. The committee 
of St. Vincent de Paul members began their work in 1850, in a rented room, which they used as a 
Sunday School to teach catechism to the children. A large number of children assembled here every 
Sunday for catechism. There were so many Catholics scattered through the district that the bishop 
: sent a priest on Sundays from the Cathedral to say mass for the old folks, who could not very well 
walk to St. Joseph's. 

The bishop appointed the Rev. Charles D. McMullen first pastor, who immediately erected a 
small frame church 100 x 40 feet on Fulton Street, on the site of the present convent. The first baptism 
recorded is dated February 13, 1853. Father McMullen soon turned his attention to the establish- 
ment of a school. Protestant societies were reaching out for the Catholic children of the neighborhood, 
and it was necessary to have a school where the children could get a good primary education and be 
instructed in the principles of their religion. The "Sehtinel" contains the announcement of a "Tea 
Party," to be held in Dudley's Hall, St. Patrick's Day, 1854, to raise money for the purposed school, 
and the little brick building still exists attached to the larger convent building. The Sisters of Mercy 
have had charge of the school since its inception. 

The church, which cost $3,000, was poorly constructed, and was condemned as unsafe by the 
authorities. The bishop selected the Rev. Martin O'Connor to erect the new church. He already 


had successful experience in church building, and the growing congregation of St. Bridget's demanded 
a large and imposing edifice. Father O'Connor came in 1858, and Father McMullen was appointed 
to Canandaigua. 

The corner-stone of the new church was laid by the bishop in June, 1859. The building was 
progressing rapidly, when a fierce hurricane swept over the city, on the evening of October 18, 1859, 
which blew off the roof and demolished the walls. This misfortune excited the sympathy of the com- 
munity; and money poured fnto the hands of the zealous pastor, who immediately started the work 
again, and he had the church ready for dedication in December of the year following. 

Father O'Connor labored here zealously, building up the material part of the parish and striving 
after the spiritual progress of his people, until he sank to rest December 19, 1870, worn out with toil. 
He was of an energetic, nervous temperament; and several of the parish buildings of the diocese owe 
their existence to his business tact and zeal. 

The Rev. James A. Lanigan, who had been assisting Father O'Connor for some months, took 
charge of the parish for a few weeks until the Very Rev. Wm. Gleason, V. G., was appointed pastor. 
Father Gleason, genial and gentle, conducted the affairs of the parish for nearly a quarter of a century. 
The spiritual interests of this one of the most populous English speaking parishes of the city claimed 
nearly his whole attention; and many thousands were baptized, confirmed, married or buried under 
his care; and they all loved the cheery, faithful vicar. Father Gleason enlarged the priest's house and 
built a large parochial school.; 

^fter Father Gleason's death, in December, 1895, the Rev. James E. Quigley was selected as 
rector; and here he labored until he was appointed the third bishop of Buffalo. He had reiaodeled 
the house and laid plans for a new school building. X Bishop Quigley was consecrated in February, 
1896,jand the Very Rev. James A. Lanigan, who succeeded Father Gleason as vicar general, was 
appointed rector of St. Bridget's. 

Father Lanigan, has been there since, building up, like his predecessors, the material as well as the 
spiritual part of the parish. He built a magnificent school that would be an ornament to any parish. 
The people are not very wealthy, but they are generous and liberally support the pastor in all his 


An attempt was made in 1890, to establish a new parish in the Polish settlement. Father Wider 
assembled about forty families and secured property on Beers Street for a new parish. Father Wider 
did not make much progress with his new congregation, and after a few months he retired to Braddock, 
Pa. The new congregation was attended for two years by the priests fi'om St. Stanislaus' Church. 
Services were held regularly in the building which served for both church and school. In 1893 Bishop 
Ryan appointed Father Kozesniak pastor of this struggling congregation. Fathers Swinarski, Slupek 
and Dyminski had charge of the parish for the following few years, until 1899, when the Rev. F. Kas- 
przak, the present pastor, was appointed. The parish is now fairly well established, and has a mem- 
bership of two hundred and fifty families. There is only one building on the property at present, which 
serves the purpose of church, school and parsonage. There are nearly two hundred children in the 
school, and on account of the rapid growth of the parish preparations are being made for the construc- 
tion of a residence for the pastor. Although the parish began under difficulties it now gives evidence 
of future growth and importance. 


Between St. Patrick's parish and the cathedral there was a large Catholic community for several 
years, which was not definitely attached to either parish. To provide further accommodation for 
these people Bishop Ryan decided to form a new parish from portions of each of the above congregations. 
He appointed the Rev. P. A. Maloy to the work of organizing the new congregation. Father Maloy 
began his work in the new field on Sunday, the 28th of January, 1888, in the temporary chapel which 


he humorously called the Tabernacle. This was situated at 354 Seneca Street, in a large brick tene- 
ment house, the lower floor of which was converted into a large hall in which services were held on 
Sundays. The first trustees for the new parish were Patrick McMullen and James Garrahee. 

In the spring of 1886, Father Maloy bought property on South Division Street, near Hickory 
Street, for $11,000, and he immediately began the construction of a church building on part of this 
property. There was a brick residence on the lot, and in this Father Maloy made his home. As 
soon as the basement of this building was completed, the old Tabernacle on Seneca Street was aban- 
doned, and services were held in the completed basement of the proposed new building. The corner- 
stone of the proposed church was laid on Sunday, October 21, 1888, and the building was blessed on 
the 16th of December of the same year, by Bishop Ryan. There was a heavy debt on the new church; 
and the work of organizing the congregation and building up a new parish was a heavy burden for 
Father Maloy, who was no longer young, nor physically fit to fulfill the work immediately connected 
with this arduous undertaking. He was a very learned man and a gifted orator, and was better fitted 
for an organized congregation than for the hard work of building up a new parish. He was succeeded 
at St. Columba's in 1890, by the present pastor, the Rev. M. P. Connery. 

Father Connery said his first mass in the new parish on Sunday, April 20, 1890. He saw at once 
that there was a great field here for a large and prosperous congregation. He also immediately decided 
that the beginning of the new church building was not sufficient to accommodate the congregation 
which might be formed here with sufficient church accommodations. Shortly after his advent, the 
Deuther property, at the corner of Eagle and Hickory streets was placed on the market. Within one 
week from the time the "For Sale" sign had been placed on this property. Father Connery had secured 
it as a site for the new church of St. Columba. He afterwards secured the adjoining lots, which gave 
him ample room for a convent and school. He immediately had plans drawn up for a new church 
building, and the corner-stone was laid on the 28th of June, 1891, by the Right Rev. Mons. William 
Gleason. A great crowd assembled on this occasion to assist in the services and listen to the eloquent 
discourse by the Rev. Dr. Quigley, the present Archbishop of Chicago. Work was pushed rapidly on 
the new building, and it was dedicated on Sunday, the 22d of February, 1892, by Bishop Ryan. The 
Rev. R. Barry, of Boston, preached on this occasion. On this occasion Bishop Ryan spoke of the 
necessity of a parochial school for the parish ; and he reiterated this statement at the meeting of the 
trustees of the chii'rc^, which was held_inthe parish residence that afternoon. A new school site was 
purchased from Mr. Charles Brunn, and the adjoining lot was secured from Mr. James Lawless. 
Immediately after securing the property, work was begun on the new school building. The ground 
was broken on the 18th of May, 1897, and the corner-stone was laid on the 9th of the following June, 
which was the patronal feast day of the parish. A handsome school building was erected, and it was 
fitted with every convenience required in an up-to-date school building. There is a large hall in the 
building which serves for intertainments, and there is also a smaller one which is used by the societies 
of the parish. The building completed cost in the neighborhood of $50,000. There are 600 pupils 
in the school, and they are taught well all the branches which make up the school course of the 
grammar grades. 

Father Connery sold the property on South Division Street, and he had erected a parish residence 
adjoining his church on Eagle Street. This building he converted into a convent for the sisters of 
Mercy who preside over his parochial school. He secured the property on North Division Street, 
corner of Hickory Street, and on this lot was ^^tedra fine, l^tge parochial residence of the Norman 
Gothic style, at a cost of about $16,000. All tn^Fouildings, which make up the handsome parochial 
property of St. Columba's parish, were built by Father Connery during the fourteen years of his pastor- 
ate over the parish. He displayed good judgment and fine financial ability, and his management of 
the temporal affairs of the parish and his amiable qualities and priestly character drew around him a 
faitliful and generous people who willingly aided him in all his undertakings. It is now one of the 
most prominent and prosperous parishes of the diocese of Buffalo. 

The Kindergarten and the Angel Guardian Mission are also under the direction of the rector of 
St. Columba's. These are managed by an association of ladies known as the Angel Guardian Mission 
Association. Mrs. Mark Packard is at the head of this association, which is doing a very good and 
charitable work in providing the primary education, also shoes and clothing, for any poor children of 
a large district in the vicinity of Seneca, Chicago and Louisiana streets. 




The entire Polish population of East Buffalo has concentrated in one district of the city. The 
great majority of these people know only their own language ; and, consequently, when they settle in 
the city and wish to establish homes they look for land near their fellow countrymen, where they can 
have congenial surroundings and can enjoy the customs they brought with them from their old homes 
and converse in their native tongues. Bishop Ryan secured a community of Franciscan Fathers, of 
a Polish province, shortly before his death; and they came to Buffalo early in 1896, to establish a new 
parish to accommodate the vast growing Polish population of East Buffalo. The Very Rev. Hyacinth 
Fudzinski was at the head of this community, and he immediately bought a large tract of land on Clark 
and Kent Streets for the new congregation. There were some cottages on this property, and in one 
of these he established his little monastery. He had a larger frame building in which he held services 
for the people. In a very short time he erected a fine three-story brick school building, and the first 
floor of this building was fitted up for church purposes. He soon after established a school on the 
upper stories of this building, and now he has about eight hundred pupils in attendance at the school, 
and the first floor of the building is crowded on Sundays with an ever growing congregation, which 
promises at no distant date to grow into one of the largest parishes in the city. Father Fudzinski is 
energetic and zealous, and he hopes soon to erect a magnificent building for his people. He is one of 
the councilors of the diocese, and is loved by his people and respected by the bishop and priests of the 


The early Catholic settlers of Lower Black Rock had a long, toilsome tramp when they attended 
mass at St. Louis' Church. There were no sidewalks, except a few strips on some of the most impor- 
tant streets, and the streets were no better than country roads. They went sometimes to the little 
church at Northbush; but when the place ceased to have services every Sunday, they attended St. 
Louis' Church, Buffalo, until they decided that their numbers entitled them to services nearer home. 

The first steps towards organization of the parish was the renting of a room, in 1847, on what is 
now Thompson Street, for a school, where secular and religious instruction might be imparted to the 
young. Bishop Timon authorized Very Rev. F. Guth, V. G., to encourage the establishment, in 
December, 1847, of a school and also a little chapel, for the people of this part of the city. The promi- 
nent Catholic settlers paid the rent and employed Mr. John Gerger to teach. The following year they 
bought two acres of land, and erected a small frame building, 20 x 30 feet, which was also used for 
school purposes. 

Bishop Timon sent the Rev. Bernard Fritsch, S. J., in October, 1849, to investigate the needs of 
the locality, and he advised the people to add to their little school so that it might be used as a chapel. 
This was done, and the Rev. Michael Guth, brother of Very Rev. F. Guth, of St. Louis' Church, sang 
high mass in the chapel, December 3, 1849, feast of St. Francis Xavier, and the new parish was placed 
under the patronage of this saint. 

The Rev. A. Samogy, came from Northbush for a few months. The Rev. F. N. Sester was 
appointed pastor in March, 1851, and he immediately rented a room in the house of John Speidel, 
and began his work as resident pastor. On the first Sunday of the year 1852, Father Sester advised 
his people to prepare to build a better church. Money was subscribed, men labored gratuitously at 
the work, and the building, 60 x 40, was dedicated by the Rev. Luke Caveng, S. J., in the spring of 
the following year. 

Father Sester built the little brick parochial residence in the summer of 1856. The Rev. Dominic 
Geymer, the Rev. A. Saeger, the Rev. A. Hatalla, the Rev. J. Zawistowiski, and the Rev. J. Moschall, 
were successively in charge until September, 1861, when the Jesuits had charge of the parish for nearly 
three years. In May, 1864, the parish was consigned to the care of the priests of the Holy Angels' 
parish, and the Rev. Henry Martens, O. M. I., directed affairs for the next three years. Father 
Martens bought more land, and added some to the east end of the church. The Rev. Henry Feldman 
came in 1867, and remained until March, 1873, when the Rev. F. X. Kofler was appointed. Father 
Kofler was at the head of the parish for twenty years. He built the tower on the church and made 
improvements in the school and the convent. 


The Rev. Charles Schaus came in March, 1893, and he immediately planned the erection of the 
handsome school building which now graces the property. Five years later he built a fine parochial 
residence. The people have generously seconded Father Schaus' efforts in building up a fine parochial 
property. They appreciate the improvements; and some of the old folks can note the great change 
from the days when they shivered in the little old church, with no means of artificial heat in winter. 


A new German congregation was organized in 1903 in the northeastern portion of the city, and 
the Rev. Wm. Schreck was placed in charge of the new parish. He soon had a building ready for 
services, and it was dedicated in the early summer for church purposes. 


Holy Angels' parish is in charge of the Oblate Missionaries of Mary Immaculate, a religious con- 
gregation founded in the early part of the last century by Rev. Charles Joseph Eugene De Mazenod, 
who became Bishop of Marseilles. The Oblate Fathers, as they are called, were invited to Buffalo by 
the Rt. Rev. Bishop Timon, to take charge of the Dioscesan Seminary and College. In August, 1851, 
Rev. Father Chevalier, with two assistants. Father Soulerin and Father Corbett, came from Montreal 
and opened the seminary and college in a brick house where the cathedral rectory now stands. Father 
Corbett attended to St. Joseph's Chapel, a frame building on the Terrace, where St. Joseph's College 
was subsequently built. 

The house used for a seminary and college not being suitable for the purpose, land was purchased 
on Prospect Hill, where stood the county poor house. This large brick building was fitted up in the 
best possible style, and to it in September, 1852, were transferred the seminary and college. A numer- 
ous staff of talented and devoted teachers promised well for the success of these two important institu- 
tions; but for want of sufficient support and encouragement both seminary and college were closed 
in 1855. Father Chevalier then taught theology to a few seminarians in the bishop's house, and subse- 
quently engaged in missionary work. The fathers who began the establishment on Prospect Hill were : 
Rev. Edward Chevalier, Superior, Rev. Richard Maloney, Rev. Father Mauroit, Rev. Fathers Soulerin, 
Paillier, Frudeau. 

Father Corbett was the first pastor of the Holy Angels' parish. The congregation, then small, 
worshipped in a small chapel on the corner of West Avenue and York Street. This was a building 
which had been used as the hospital for the insane patients of the poor house, but which had been 
decorated and fitted up as a chapel. The church in which the faithful of Holy Angles' parish now 
worship was begun in the autumn of 1857, completed in 1858, and dedicated in the same year by Rt. 
Rev. Bishop Timon. 

In May, 1860, Rev. J. M. Guillard became pastor, and soon succeeded in improving the interior, 
which later on he greatly enlarged, and adorned with a grand marble altar. In 1865 he left for Ottawa, 
and returned as pastor in 1873, at the death of the Rev. Superior, Father Sallaz, who had just provided 
his community with a pastoral residence befitting its fine locality. Previous to this Fathers Maloney, 
Paillier, Trudeau, Coopman, Kavanaugh and others, won the esteem and affection of the people of 
Holy Angels' parish. 

For sixteen years from his second appointment. Father Guillard remained pastor of Holy Angels' 
Church and Superior of the Oblate community. He built three parochial schools in Holy Angels' 
parish. Two of them. Barton Street school and Brayton Street school, are now in the Annunciation 
parish and the Nativity parish, respectively, owing to repeated divisions of Holy Angels' parish. The 
third Holy Angels' school, a large, costly building, was begun and opened in 1880. 

The Juniorate, a preparatory college for aspirants to the Oblate Order, was opened in 1891, with 
a staff of seven fathers, five scholastics, three lay brothers, and eighteen juniors. In 1894 a college in 
connection with the Juniorate was opened with the assent of Rt. Rev. Bishop Ryan; so that now Holy 


Angels' parish, with its college, parish school and magnificent academy for girls, is indeed well equipped 
for the primary and advanced education of all its children. 

Rev. D. O'Riordan was appointed superior and pastor in 1888. During his administration the 
church was improved and decorated, the towers were renewed and a grand improvement took place. 

In March, 1892, Rev. Theophile Lavoie became pastor, a position in which he was replaced a 
year later by Rev. James McGrath. Father McGrath died suddenly of heart disease whilst on his 
way to Lowell, January 12, 1896. After the sudden and lamented death of Father McGrath, Father 
James Quinn was appointed pastor. During his pastorship an admirable transformation took place 
in the sanctuary and through the whole church. Its interior is now enriched with the finest specimens 
of painting and statuary. He was succeeded by the Rev. M. F. Fallon, D. D., the present pastor. 


In 1902 a new parish was formed in South Buffalo, from portions of St. Stephen's, St. Theresa's, 
and St. Patrick's Church of West Seneca. The Rev. J. Nash, D. D., was appointed pastor of this 
new parish. Soon after his appointment he purchased the handsome property of William J. Conners, 
on South Park Avenue, and he converted one of the large buildings on the property into a temporary 
church. This parish gives every evidence of prosperity, and under the wise guidance and intelligent 
zeal of its pastor, it will soon be one of the prominent parishes of the City of Buffalo. 


When the West Shore car shops were established at East Buffalo a large number of mechanics 
were attracted to this part of the city. A little community soon sprung up here of men engaged in the 
West Shore car shops, and many of these were Catholics. This little settlement was far removed from 
any Catholic church, and Bishop Ryan soon took steps to organize a little congregation for these people. 
He commissioned the Rev. J. C. Long to organize the new parish. Father Long dwelt for a time at 
the cathedral until he assembled his people and secured a place in which lo hold services. He bought 
property in 1884, on Bailey Avenue, a short distance from Walden Avenue. He soon erected a small 
frame building for church purposes and secured an old frame building which he converted into a 
school. He rented a house on Bailey Avenue, which he used for a parochial residence until he built a 
comfortable house on Bailey Avenue. 

He was succeeded in February, 1896, by the Rev. D. M. Reilly. Father Reilly placed the parish 
in good financial condition, and then turned his thoughts to a new church. The congregation had 
been growing for some years, and the little frame building was no longer large enough to accommodate 
the numbers who came to the services on Sundays. Father Reilly accumulated a fund for the new 
building, and he felt so secure in the enthusiasm and co-operation of his people that he laid plans for 
a magnificent stone structure. This building is to be of St. Lawrence granite, which will give a very 
solid and imposing appearance to the church, which is destined to be an ornament to that section of 
the city. 


The English speaking portion of St. Louis' congregation withdrew from that church in 1837, and 
they rented rooms, first on Niagara Street and later on the corner of the Terrace and Main Street; and 
here they had services for nearly two years until their fast growing numbers forced upon them the 
necessity of a church building. 

Mr. Lecouteulx donated the St. Louis' Church property for all the Catholics of the city without 
distinction of nationality; but now that the English speaking portion of the congregation was forced 
out, he deeded a plot of ground on Louis (Edward) and Morgan Streets to them for a church site. 


This was in January, 1839; and a meeting was held the same month to organize the parish of St. 
Mary. The following trustees were elected: Patrick Milton, Andrew McGowan, Maurice Vaughan, 
John Kinney, Patrick Cannon, Bartley Corcoran, Lacky Conway, Patrick Connolly and John Coleman. 
The people, however, thought it unwise to spend money on a site so far out in the country, and in the 
fall of the same year they bought a more favorable site on Batavia and Ellicott Streets. 

When Bishop Timon came to Buffalo the city had already extended north and west into the terri- 
tory now embraced by the Immaculate Conception parish ; and he secured a new deed of the property, 
which had reverted to the heirs of Louis Lecouteulx. The bishop sent the Rev. J. P. Fitzpatrick, January 
1, 1849, to organize the new parish of St. Mary of the Lake. Father Fitzpatrick immediately began 
the erection of a little frame building for a church, and a modest cottage for a priest 's house. 

Father Fitzpatrick remained only three months when he was succeeded by the Rev. B. Carraher. 
The Rev. M. Walsh had charge of the parish for one month, from September 22, 1849. Father Carra- 
her labored strenuously to meet the financial obligations of the young parish. He remained until 
July, 1850, when the Rev. Peter Brown was appointed pastor. 

Father Brown remained six years ; built an addition to the frame church, and left the parish in a 
fairly prosperous condition. During his pastorate many other priests ministered to the people. The 
name of the Rev. Hugh Fitzsimmons, the Rev. John McCabe, the Rev. George Lennon, and the Rev. 
Francis O'Farrell, are found on the records during this period. 

Father Brown was succeeded in 1856 by Rev. James Early. Father Early immediately began the 
erection of the brick church, larger and more in keeping with the importance of the congregation. 
The corner-stone was laid in August, 1856. The dogma of the Immaculate Conception had just been 
proclaimed, and the new church was blessed under this title, and St. Mary's of the Lake passed into 
history. Father Early went South in the winter of 1859 to raise funds for his heavily burdened church, 
and the Rev. F. J. Smith and Wm. F. Payne became acting rectors during his absence. The old frame 
church building was used for school purposes. Father Early was transferred to another parish in 
1861, and he was followed at the Immaculate Conception by the Revs. M. Purcell, P. Colgan and T. 
Gleason in rapid succession. Father Gleason built the present parochial residence in 1864. Then 
came the Rev. T. Cahill in 1865, and the Rev. D. Kendrick in the same year. 

The Rev. Edward Quigley (1), of classic mien and courtly grace, came in 1865, and remained 
for three years and seven months, when ill health compelled him to seek an easier field of labor. The 
Rev. John O'Mara succeeded Father Quigley in July, 1869, and he reconstructed the church which 
had been faultily built. Services were held in the Lecouteulx institute during the period of reconstruc- 
tion. Father O'Mara was a faithful pastor, but a poor financial manager, and the Rev. James Rogers 
relieved him in 1877, as one well fitted for the heavy debt. Father Rogers overcame the financial 
difficulties, and erected a fine brick school building. 

This parish was selected as one of the ten entitled to irremovable rectors in 1887, and Father 
Rogers was its first permanent rector. He died in August, 1893, and was succeeded by the Rev. 
Thomas Donohue, D. D. Dr. Donohue started the stone church building in 1900, and the St. James' 
mission for poor children in 1902. 


Previous to 1867 all the Catholics living at Black Rock attended the church of St. Francis Xavier 
on East Street. There was no resident pastor at St. francis Xavier Church at that time, but the con- 
gregation was under the care of Father Martin, of the Holy Angels' Church on Porter Avenue. One 
Sunday in March, 1867, Father Martin announced that the English speaking, "Irish," persons present 
should meet in the school house after mass. At this meeting they were told that there was no longer 
room for them at St. Francis; and they should provide church accommodations for themselves. 

They rented the upper floor of North Buffalo Hall, and Father Glennon, from the cathedral came 
every Sunday to say mass for them. Meetings were held at Collin's store on Niagara Street, a com- 
mittee was appointed, and they selected a site on the corner of Hei-tel Avenue and East Street for 
their new church. Bishop Timon and vicar-General Gleason approved the choice of the committee; 

(1) The Most Rev. James E. Quigley lived here during the pastorate of his relative Rev. Edward Quigley. 


and they christened the prospective church St. John, in compliment to John Cantillon, who took such 
an active interest in the new congregation. The Rev. Father McNab attended the congregation from 
the cathedral after Father Glennon's departure, and said mass for them in their rented hall until the 
new church was ready for services. The new church was a plain, small brick building, and was ready 
for dedication in 1868. The church was dedicated by the administrator of the diocese, the Very Rev. 
Wm. Gleason, and the next care of the people was to secure a resident pastor. In those days it was 
a long journey from the cathedral to Black Rock. The one-horse car ran at irregular intervals and 
slow speed as far down Niagara Street as Amherst Street, where the line of rapid transit for those days 
ended. The priest coming from the cathedral was compelled to walk from Amherst Street to 'Hertel 
Avenue, where the little church was located, and the people were anxious to have a priest of their own, 
whom they could easily reach in case of sickness, and who would not be obliged to come such a long 
and inconvenient journey to serve them on Sundays. 

Shortly after the church was dedicated the Rev. P. Mazureth was appointed the first resident 
pastor. They had no residence for the pastor, so he boarded with a family near the church until a 
new parochial residence was prepared for his dwelling. Father Mazureth was very energetic and 
laborious, and besides collecting money to pay for the new brick residence he also labored on the 
building like one of the workmen or mechanics. 

The Lower Rock was a busy and prosperous place, shortly after St. John's parish was formed. 
There were several important manufactures ; and with the facilities of dockage along the river, and 
railroad transportation it offered advantages that promised rapid growth. The little congregation 
also grew rapidly, and when the Rev. John O'Donoghue came in 1872, he found the little brick building, 
which served as a church, was too small for his congregation. He built a large addition to the church, 
and built the altar, and beautified the interior of the building. He died here on the 8th of March, 1875, 
and was succeeded by the Rev. Peter Donohue. Father Donohue was pastor for about nine years, 
and he established a parochial school, in an old Methodist church building, which he bought and moved 
on to the lot in the rear of the church. The Rev. Edward Kelley was appointed pastor in 1884, and 
remained here about one year when he was assigned to the work of building up a new parish, in what 
was called the Upper Rock. This comprised portions of the congregation of St. John the Baptist and 
the Holy Angels. This division took away more than one-half the congregation from St. John the 
Baptist Church. Father Kelley was succeeded in 1885, by the Rev. Thomas Donohue, D. D., who 
remained here until October, 1893, when he was transferred to the rectorship of the church of the 
Immaculate Conception. Dr. Donohue bought a new organ for the church and purchased a lot 
adjoining the school for a convent for the Sisters of St. Joseph, who were introduced as teachers of the 
school shortly after his coming to the parish. Dr. Donohue was succeeded in 1893 by the Rev. B. B. 
Grattan. Father Grattan made many improvements in the church and house, and the congregation 
grew rapidly under his fostering care. Father Grattan died here in August, 1902, and was succeeded 
by the present pastor, the Rev. M. Noonan. The rapid growing congregation is already too large 
for the old church building, and Father Noonan is collecting funds to build here some day a church 
which will favorably compare with the other beautiful modern church buildings of the diocese. 


For some years previous to 1850 the German Cathohc settlers who were living at what was 
called Elysville, on Main Street, attended services on Sunday in the little log church at Buffalo Plains, 
or North Bush. This little building had outlived its usefulness and the congregation decided to erect 
a new building. The people, however, could not agree on the site for the new church. The people 
residing at Elysville wished to have a church nearer their homes. The little church at North Bush 
was three or four miles away from the homes of many of the residents of Elysville, and these were in 
favor or erecting the new church on Main Street. The matter, however, was decided favorably for 
both parties, and they resolved to erect a stone building instead of the log church at North Bush, on 
the same property which had been in their possession since 1834; and the people of Elysville determined 
to form a new congregation and build a church on Main Street. Property was secured here and a 
church building begun in 1850, under the direction of the Jesuit fathers from St. Michael's Church, 


Rev. S. Gruber came in February, 1853, as the first resident pastor of St. Joseph's parish. He 
remained until May, 1855, when the Redemptorists Fathers looked after the parish until the 9th of 
December of that year, when the Rev. Koen-g was appointed to look after the interests of the new 

There were not many events of importance in the history of St. Joseph's parish, outside the suc- 
cession of the different pastors, until the new building was erected by Father Zurcher. 

The pastors who have had charge of St. Joseph's parish after Father Koenig, were the following : 
Rev. M. Steger, from April, 1857, to October, 1857; the Rev. J. Zowistowski, from October, 1855, to 
January, 1859. The Franciscan Fathers attended the church for a few months in the spring of 1859, 
until the Rev. J. Rossvog was oppointed. Father Rossvog remained until September, 1860, when the 
Rev. J. M. Arndt was appointed pastor. After Father Arndt came the Rev. G. G. Pax, from August, 
1861, to December, 1862, when the Redemptorist Fathers had charge of the parish for two years, when 
they were succeeded by the Jesuit Fathers from St. Michael's Church. The church remained under 
the care of the Jesuits until June, 1873, when the Rev. N. Sorg was appointed pastor. Father Sorg 
remained until May, 1874, when the Rev. G. Geppert came. After Father Geppert came the Rev. 
A. Adolph in April, 1878; then the Rev. G. Gysen, to September, 1883; the Rev. G. Zurcher, from 
October 4, 1885, to February 5, 1900, when the present pastor, the Rev. M. Phillips was appointed. 

The school was started here in a little frame building, in the fall of 1882, under the care of the 
Sisters of St. Joseph. Father Zurcher built the brick church shortly after he was appointed pastor of 
the parish, and by his good management left it in a fairly prosperous condition. Father Phillips, the 
present pastor, has just completed a fine parochial residence of the same material as the church. Al- 
though the parish has not grown very rapidly for the half century of its existence, yet as the city is 
extending out in that direction it gives every evidence of future posterity. 


This is a recently formed parish in the Polish district of Buffalo. There is a large, handsome 
brick church on Broadway for the people of this parish, and there is also a large school adjoining the 
church, taught by the Felician Sisters. The Rev. T. Smelka is the present pastor. 


St. Louis' was the first congregation organized west of Rochester, and the first in the present 
diocese of Buffalo. The Rev. Stephan Badin sojourned in Buffalo six weeks with Mr. Louis Lecouteulx 
before returning to his own mission in Kentucky. This was in the winter of 1828-1829, and Father 
Badin said mass for the Catholics several times during his visit, in the court house or in the home of 
Mr. Lecouteulx. Mr. Lecouteulx owned several tracts of land in Buffalo, and Father Badin per- 
suaded him to donate the plot, corner Main and Edward streets as a site for a church. The deed, 
dated January 5, 1829, was drawn up and sent to Bishop Dubois as a New Year's gift. 

The bishop came to Buffalo, July of the same year, sang high mass in the court house and dedi- 
cated the ground to the purposes designated by the donors. The bishop celebrated a solemn high 
mass on this occasion in the court house, at which there were more than eight hundred persons present. 
This was the first time that such religious solemnity had been witnessed in Buffalo, and it made a deep 
impression on both Catholic and Protestant. 

At four o'clock in the afternoon another ceremony, strange to this part of the world, took place. 
The bishop vested in solemn pontificals, and, proceeded by an immense throng, left the court house in 
procession to bless the new cemetery. It was a strange and inspiring sight to witness this procession, 
headed by four old men who recited the rosary in German, while English, and French and German 
responded in his own tongue. 

A delegation of Catholics called upon the bishop and begged him to send them a priest. The 
Rev. John Nicholas Mertz came to Buffalo shortly after, and he was the first resident priest of the 
incipient St. Louis' congregation. He secured a little log house on the west side of Pearl Street, midway 


between Court and Eagle streets, where he dwelt for some years. He rented a small frame building, 
which had at one time served as a meeting house for Methodists, situated in an open space between 
Pearl and Main streets; and here the saintly old man organized the first Catholic congregation of 
Buffalo. Here they had vespers occasionally, sung by an impromptu choir, to the accompaniment of 
a small reed organ placed on the floor near the door of the building. Here they had the first school 
also, where every afternoon the younger ones could learn to read and write and spell. 

Many Catholics came to Buffalo in the next three years ; and Father Mertz resolved to erect a 
more commodious structure, on the site donated by Mr. Lecouteulx. The parishioners were poor and 
could not donate money, but they gave their time and labor to the work ; and they hewed huge timbers 
in the forest on Delavan Avenue and drew them in with their ox teams, and placed them in position 
for the frame work of their church. The interstices were filled in with a primitive sort of mortar 
composed of straw and clay. 

Father Mertz had brought some money from Europe, and some of this he used to purchase what- 
ever was needed that his people could not supply. He also brought a bronze tabernacle with him, 
which had a symbolic figure of the "Lamb" on the upper portion of the door. It was from this that 
the church derived its name, and it was called the "Lamb of God." The little church was begun in 
1830. The corner-stone was laid in July 8, 1831; but such slow progress was made that it was not 
ready for services until the spring of 1832. No provision was made for heating the church in cold 
weather. Artificial heating was considered a luxury, which few of the early churches enjoyed. 

In 1835 Father Mertz was fast failing under the weight of years (1) and the burden of his ever 
increasing labors ; so the bishop sent him an assistant in the person of the Rev. Alexander Pax. Father 
Mertz (2) practically transferred the responsibility of the parish to Father Pax, and the next summer 
he proceeded to Europe for a well-earned rest. 

Father Pax took full charge of the church, and he planned to build a large brick church around 
the form of the old rough cast structure. He labored under many difiiculties, and against much oppo- 
sition, but he triumphed and he saw the completion of his work in 1843. Then he resigned his position 
and returned to his native land. This church was later enlarged, and was totally destroyed by fire on 
the evening of March 25, 1885. Not disheartened by the great loss, the congregation, under the direc- 
tion of Rev. Joseph Sorg, immediately started a frame structure, which was completed in less than 
three weeks. The pastor and people next planned the magnificent structure which now adorns the 
handsome property. The corner-stone was laid May 29, 1886, and the first religious service was held 
in the church August 25, 1889, when the building was blessed. The following pastors labored in St. 
Louis' Church: Rev. John Nicholas Mertz, November, 1829, to June, 1836; Rev. Alexander Pax, 
August, 1836, to March 19, 1843; Rev. Francis Guth, September 1, 1844, to September, 1855; Rev. 
Wm. Deiters, September, 1855, to June 11, 1861. Priests from St. Michael's and St. Mary's attended 
during vacancies. Rev. J. E. Moshall, September, 1861, to February, 1862; Rev. S. Schoulepnikoff, 
January, 1864, to August, 1867; Rev. J. M. Sorg, August, 1865, to September, 1888; Rev. P. Hoelscher, 
D. D., September 18, 1888, to the present time. Dr. Hoelscher has added greatly to the beauty of 
the building by interior ornamentation and handsome furnishings. Miss Emma Lang (3) left $16,000 
for a marble altar, which will soon be placed in position in the sanctuary of the church. 


Some of the German Catholic members of St. Louis' congregation desired to withdraw from 
membership in that parish, and they invited the Redemptorists to come to Buffalo and establish a new 
church for the German Catholics of the city. In 1842 there were no German priests in Buffalo. Father 
Murtz retired to Eden, Father Neuman had joined the Redemptorists, and Father Pax had retired 
from St. Louis, in disgust. Bishop Hughes ruled the diocese at this time, and he invited the Redemp- 
torists to establish a community and organize a congregation in the City of Buffalo. 

The Rev. Benedict Bayer, C. S. S. R., came to Buffalo in November, 1843, to establish a new 
congregation. The Rev. William Whalen was then pastor of St. Patrick's Church, at the corner of 

(1) He was then over seventy. 

(2) He always wore knickerbockers and the hat of the European clerjiy. 

(3) Gerhard Lang and his family have been generous givers to St. Louis Church. 


Ellicott and Batavia streets, and he kindly received Father Bayer and tendered the use of his church 
for the service of the German CathoHcs of the city. Father Bayer inserted a notice in a German 
newspaper, The Weltberger, on December 9th, that on the next day, Sunday, December 10th, services 
for the German CathoHcs would be held in the basement of St. Patrick's Church. 

The little hall was crowded with people who were delighted to hear that Bishop Hughes had sent 
Father Bayer to establish a German congregation for them. Father Bayer established his residence 
in Oak Street, in a brick house, between Batavia and Clinton streets. Subscriptions were immediately 
started for the purchase of property for the proposed church. Father Bayer was replaced by the Rev. 
Nicholas Alig, C. S. C. R. Father Alig continued the work begun by his predecessors, and with the 
help of George A. Deuther, he purchased from James Millener a plot of land at the corner of Batavia 
and Pine streets, on February 22nd, 1844. Father Alig announced to his congregation, on the following 
Sunday, that work would be immediately begun; and he requested all the men of his congregation 
to give their labor and their money for the building of the new church. Willing hands readily assisted 
in the work, and the only expense in erecting the building was the cost of material. The church was 
blessed on the 12th of May, 1844, although it was not entirely completed at that time. The building 
was 180 feet long, 50 feet wide and 16 feet high. It looked like a bowling alley, and was only intended 
as a temporary structure. 

Father Alig also started a school, in a rented building on Pine Street, and engaged Mr. Schmitt 
to teach the boys. He rented another house on Batavia Street for a girl's school, and secured a young 
lady as teacher. In 1845 Father Alig erected a little parochial residence of four rooms on Batavia 
Street, for the home of the priests. Father Bayer replaced Father Alig in November, 1845. 

A mission was given in this church in the lenten season of 1846, which was attended by immense 
crowds. It was the first time that a mission had been given in Buffalo, and people came many miles 
to attend the service. Father Bayer purchased in 1846, land on Johnson Street for a cemetery, which 
later became a part of the German Orphan Asylum property. 

Father Bayer announced a meeting of the men of the parish at vesper services. There were over 
600 men at this meeting, and they unanimously decided that a new church building was necessary for 
the large and growing congregation of St. INIary's. Bishop Hughes was requested to give his consent 
for the building of a new church; which he very readily granted, and sent his check for $350.00 as his 
contribution towards the enterprise. The corner-stone of the building was laid on the 24th of April, 
1848, by Bishop Timon, and the church was dedicated on the 28th of July, 1850, under the title of 
St. Mary's Church. 

The church was built of stone, and is 186 feet long, 81 feet wide, and 56 feet high. A convent 
was built at the same time on Pine Street, adjoining the church, as a residence for the priests of the 

In 1849, the Rev. Jos. Helmprecht, C. S. S. R., who was then rector of the parish, secured the 
community of the sisters of Notre Dame to teach the schools of the parish. A new school building 
was erected in 1851. It was a brick building, three stories high, with a hall on the lower floor for 
entertainments and church societies. The sisters purchased the house next door to the school, which 
was transferred later to the Redemptorists. 

Cholera broke out in Buffalo in 1851, and many homes were ravaged by the disease, and many 
children were left orphans. The good sisters endeavored to care for these destitute waifs, but the 
number was so large it became necessary to establish an institution especially for them. Father 
Helmprecht bought the house adjoining the sisters' residence from Peter Miller, in 1852, for $5,000; 
and established here an asylum for the orphans. The sisters of this parish looked after these or- 
phans until 1874, when the German Catholic Orphan Asylum for the diocese of Buffalo was 

In 1868 it became necessary to erect another school building, which was built by Father Hespelin, 
C. S. S. R., on Pine Street, adjoining the parochial residence. Even this additional school building 
did not furnish sufficient accommodation for all the children of the parish. In 1874 the Orphan 
Asylum of St. Mary's Church was removed to the site of the old burial ground on Dodge Street, which 
was purchased from Bishop Ryan at a cost of $25,000. Father Shauer, C. S. S. R., was then rector 
of St. Mary's, and he was mainly instrumental in organizing the association which was formed to care 
for the orphans. The removal of the orphan asylum gave more room for the school building, and a 
fine new school house was erected on the Broadway frontage of the property. A new convent was 
also erected for the home of the sisters. 


Father Stern, C. S. S. R., was rector of St. Mary's in 1900, and he found that all the property was 
in good condition except the church. He began the work of beautifying the church by placing a 
magnificient marble altar in the sanctuary. This was the gift of the Strauss Family (l) . Father Frank, 
C. S. S. R., came as rector of St. Mary's in 1901, and he continued the work of restoration begun by 
his predecessor. New stained glass windows were placed in the church, and granite columns replaced 
the old brick and mortar ones which had served as supports for the roof for many years. 

The rejuvenated church, beautiful with its marble and granite altars and pillars, and handsome 
decorations, was reopened by Bishop Colton, on the 24th of January, 1904. This parish is one of the 
largest and most important German parishes of the diocese ; and it has been successfully conducted 
by the pastors, the priests of the Redemptorist Order for more than sixty years. 

The great burial ground at Pine Hill, for the German and French Catholics of Buffalo, had its 
origin at a meeting held in the school hall of St. Mary's Church, on the 21st of February, 1859. 


About 1890, and the subsequent years, the population of Buffalo began to spread out over the 
eastern portion of the city. The territory east of the Parade and north of Genesee Street began to be 
thickly settled at this time. No church was conveniently located for the people of this section. Many 
of the Catholics signed a petition which was presented to Bishop Ryan, requesting him to send a priest 
who might form a parish for the people of that section of the city. Bishop Ryan could not send a 
priest at that time. Another petition, bearing the signature of three hundred persons, was presented 
to Bishop Quigley, 'n 1899. Bishop Quigley favored the establishment of a parish east of Humboldt 
Parkway, and he sent the Rev. J. C. Bubenheim to form a new congregation. A meeting was held 
on the evening of June 21st, at which a building committee was appointed and trustees were selected 
for the new parish. The trustees were: Geo. Schilroth and Chas. Rauck. Dr. Schwartz offered his 
services as organist of the new congregation. Mr. Schilroth offered shelter to the new pastor until he 
could secure a favorable residence. 

The first mass for the congregation was celebrated in a hall over a grocery store, at the corner of 
Utica Street and Fillmore Avenue, on the 25th of June. For some months Father Pfeil, of St. Michael's 
Church, assisted the pastor in attending to the spiritual wants of his people. Father Bubenheim 
resolved immediately to start a school for the children of his parish. He rented some rooms, and started 
his school with two hundred and seventeen pupils. The rooms were not large enough to accommodate 
the number of children, nor were they well adapted for school purposes. The Very Rev. M. P. Connery 
advised Father Bubenheim to build a fine school and a parsonage. The ground was broken for the 
new building, on the lot at the corner of Fillmore Avenue and Landon Street, on the 31st of October. 
The building was designed to serve as a school, a church and a hall. The corner-stone was laid on 
November 9th, 1899. The new building was dedicated by Bishop Quigley on the 18th of March, 
1900. Bishop Quigley preached a magnificent sermon at the dedication, and highly praised the zeal 
of the pastor and the generosity of his people. 

In the spring of 1901 the pastor and trustees decided to erect a parochial residence. Work was 
begun at the end of September, and the building was occupied by the pastor in the spring of the fol- 
lowing year. The parish is prosperous, and is fast becoming one of the most important in the city. 


Bishop Timon sought the assistance of the Jesuits in restoring the disrupted peace of St. Louis' 
parish, by giving a spiritual retreat or mission to the congregation. The Rev. Lucas Caveng, S. J., 
and the Rev. Bernard Fritsch, S. J., opened the mission in April, 1848, but their efforts were not crowned 
with success. The same two fathers gave another mission in St. Louis' Church in February, 1851, 

(1) Many churches and Catholic institutions of Buffalo \\a,ve been beneficiaries of the generosity of the late John 
Strauss and his family. 


and at the close of the mission Father Caveng was appointed pastor of the church. Peace, however, 
reigned only a short time,and the Jesuits withdrew from St. Louis' Church after two months of fruit- 
less efforts. 

Bishop Timon then resolved to build another church for the well disposed people of St. Louis' 
congregation. Services would not be held in St. Louis' Church ; so Father Caveng invited the people 
to assemble in the basement of St. Peter's French Church, where the first mass was sung for the pro- 
posed new congregation of St. Michael's, on May 18, 1851. About one hundred people were present. 

The bishop had purchased the Squier property, on Washington Street, as a site for his cathedral ; 
but now he offered it to the Jesuits, at a nominal sum, on condition that they should build there a 
college for the education of youth and a church for the Germans. The corner-stone of the new church 
was laid by Bishop Timon, August 20, 1855, assisted by Very Rev. Francis Guth, V. G. ; Rev. Clemens 
Boulanger, S. J., Superior; Rev. Joseph Helmprecht, C. S. S. R. ; Rev. L. Caveng, S. J.; Rev. B. 
Fritsch, S. J., and Rev. W. Kettner, S. J. 

The church was dedicated January 1, 1852, by the bishop. A little school near the church was 
opened a month later. Father Caveng, S. J., died in January, 1862, and was succeeded by Father 
Vetter, who remained at the head of the community until the advent of Father Durthaller. 

The Jesuits had labored to unite the congregation of St. Louis, and had negotiated with the 
trustees for the restoration of services under the direction of the Jesuits ; but when these efforts failed 
Father Durthaller decided to build a fine large church for St. Michael's. Work was begun in April, 
and the corner-stone was laid on the feast of St. Ignatius. The building is 201 feet long, and 88 feet 
wide; and the style is the modern Roman. The church was dedicated June 16, 1867, by Bishop Lynch, 
of Toronto, assisted by Very Rev. Wm. Gleason, administrator of the diocese. 

Father Durthaller returned to New York in July, and was succeeded by Father Reiter. Father 
Reiter remained only a few months when the Rev. Wm. Becker, S. J., took charge. The new school 
was built in 1873. The Rev. Joseph Kreusch, S. J., came in 1876, and finished the tower of the church. 
He remained ten years, when the Rev. H. Kamp, S. J., was appointed pastor. He purchased a grand 
organ for the church. He was succeeded in 1894 by the Rev. Joseph Faber, S. J., the present pastor. 


For some years it was evident that a new church would be needed between the Holy Angels' and 
the Annunciation parishes, to furnish sufficient accommodation for the Catholics of that district. 
Bishop Quigley assigned this difficult task to the Rev. Daniel Walsh in 1898. Father Walsh went to 
work with his usual energy and determination, and he soon had secured property in a favorable 
locality and built a temporary structure, in which he held services for the large congregation he had 
assembled. He laid his plans for a beautiful stone church building and a fine parochial residence, 
both of which were completed in the summer of 1903. Father Walsh lived in a rented house on Ferry 
Street until his new residence was completed. Bishop Colton blessed the new church the second 
Sunday after his arrival in Buffalo. The school connected with this parish was formerly a branch of 
the Holy Angels' parochial school. 


In the spring of 1874, people in the Cold Spring district, east of Main Street, discussed the desir- 
ability of forming a new parish. Many houses were going up in this quarter of the city, and the many 
Catholics found it inconvenient to attend St. Louis' Church, or the little parish of St. Vincent's on 
M^in Street. Mr. Gregory Ritt donated a piece of land, on Locust Street, for the site of a Catholic 
church. Father Van Velten visited many Catholic families of the district and organized them into a 
congregation. He also began the erection of a little frame church on the site donated by Mr. Ritt. 
The little building was ready by Christmas of 1874, and here the first mass was said on that day for 
the new congregation. There was no house at that time for the pastor, and he boarded with some 
of the families in the parish. Father Van Velten only remained a short time when he was succeeded 


by the Rev. Victor Ritter, who also boarded wilh one of the families of the parish. The parish was not 
quite strong enough financially to support a pastor and to erect buildings necessary for a city congrega- 
tion, so the parish was attached to one of the organized congregations of the city from which it was 
regularly attended on Sundays. Priests came for some years from St. Vincent's parish on Main 
Street, and later from St. Louis' Church, to hold services in the little frame building on Welker Street. 
Priests who attended the congregation during this period were: The Rev. J. Hamel, Rev. T. Voss, 
Rev. C. Wagner, Rev. B. Gruber, Rev. G. Guysen, Rev. M. Phillips and Rev. Geo. Weber. In the 
spring of 1885, the Rev. Geo. Weber, who attended the church from St. Louis' parish, started the con- 
struction of a frame parochial residence. The congregation at this time was sufficiently numerous to 
claim a resident pastor. The Rev. C. O'Byrne was appointed ; and he attended the congregation on 
Sundays from St. Joseph's Cathedral, where he dwelt until the parochial residence was completed. 
Father O'Byrne started a little parochial school in the rear of the old frame church the year after his 
arrival. The population of this portion of the city increased very rapidly in the succeeding years ; and 
Father O'Byrne soon found that his little frame church was not large enough to accommodate the 
rapidly increasing members. There was a fine plot of land, extending from his little lot on Welker 
Street through to the corner of Utica Street. This property Father O'Byrne purchased the year of his 
arrival, and he immediately formed plans for the erection of a fine brick church. He began the building 
in the spring of 1892, and the corner-stone was laid on the last day of July of the same year. The church 
was dedicated on Rosary Sunday of the year following, by Bishop Foley of Detroit. 

Teachers from Miss Nardin's academy came every morning, from the convent on Franklin Street 
near the cathedral, to teach the children of the parochial school. When the congregation took posses- 
sion of the new church, the old frame building on Welker Street was converted into a school building. 
It was very inconvenient to bring the teachers from such a distance every morning, in all kinds of 
weather, to the school on Welker Street, and FatherO'Byrne, therefore, planned a home for them adjoin- 
ing the school. He began the construction of a new parochial residence in 1899. The old building 
was moved onto the lot on the next street, adjoining his Welker Street property. When his new house 
was completed he turned the frame building over to the sisters of St. Francis' from Pine Street, who 
succeeded the Nardin's in teaching the parochial school. The next work which Father O'Byrne 
planned was the erection of a magnificent school building. He is giving his time and attention to 
this work at present; and when it will be completed he will have a thoroughly equipped parish and a 
very fine church property, consisting of a fine brick church, a handsome parochial residence and an 
up-to-date school, all the result of his untiring energy and zeal, in building up the parish of St. Nicholas. 


This parish was created by Bishop Quigley on the 25th of March, 1897. It was formed from 
portions of St. Bridget's and St. Stephen's parishes. The Rev. R. C. O'ConncU was appointed first 
pastor of the new parish and he held the first services in the club house at 100 Louisiana Street, on 
the 11th of July, 1897. Father O'Connell purchased property at the corner of Sandusky and Alabama 
streets shortly after his appointment as pastor, where he began the erection of a magnificent stone 
church edifice a few months after taking charge of the new congregation. The corner-stone of the church 
was laid by Bishop Quigley on November 21, 1897. As soon as the basement of the new church was 
finished, the club house was abandoned, and services were held in the new basement until the church 
was completed. The church was dedicated by Bishop Qu'gley on the 21st of March, 1900. The 
building is of Medina sand-stone, and is a very pleasing Gothic style of architecture. A handsome brown 
stone frame residence was erected the same year that the church was completed. 


All the Catholics of Buffalo attended St. Louis' Church up to the year 1837, when the church 
was too small to accommodate the large and fast-growing congregation. The Germans were in the 
majority in the parish and they retained possession of the property, and the Irish went elsewhere to 
seek to build up another parish. They first rented a building on the northwest corner of Main and 


Niagara streets, and the Rev. Chas. Smith was sent from Schenectady to attend them. Father Smith 
came about May 1, 1837; and said mass only once a month in Buffalo at first, and the other Sundays 
he held services at Java, or some of the settlements scattered through the western part of New York. 
The Genesee Valley Canal was under construction then ; and thousands of Irish and German Catholics 
were employed, and for them Father Smith said mass in various places along the line of operations. 
The English speaking Catholics soon moved to larger quarters on the corner of Main Street and the 
Terrace (1). 

Father Smith established his dwelling in Buffalo about the close of the year 1837, at the corner of 
Washington and Mohawk streets (2). The next year he moved to Niagara Street, below Franklin 
Street, and the following year he dwelt on South Division Street, east of Oak Street. 

Mr. Lecouteulx conveyed property in January, 1839, to Bishop Dubois, for a church for the 
English speaking Catholics ; but it was too far away from their homes, and they turned their attention 
to a more convenient locality, at the corner of Ellicott and Batavia (Broadway) streets, and here they 
erected the first St. Patrick's Church. 

Bishop Hughes, coadjutor of the diocese, came to Buffalo in August, 1839, and soon afterwards 
Father Smith urged his people to secure a site for a church for the English speaking Catholics of the 
city. A plot of land on the corner of Ellicott and Batavia (Broadway) streets was purchased from 
George Stephenson. The deed conveyed the property to Patrick Milton, Maurice Vaughn, Patrick 
Cannon and Patrick Connolly, who jointly and severally bound themselves to pay the purchase price 
within ten years, and also to erect a substantial brick church on the property inside of four years (3). 
The church edifice arose slowly. Money was scarce; and much of the work was done by parishioners, 
who could give time instead of cash. The roof was on before the winter of 1840, and the church- was 
in use at the beginning of May, 1841. 

Father Smith was called to Brooklyn before the church was finished, and the Rev. William Whelan 
succeeded him as pastor of the struggling parish. Father Whelan dwelt with the family of Patrick 
Cannon, in the Eagle Block on Main Street, opposite Clinton Street. Father Whelan was an enthusi- 
astic advocate of temperance, and he administered the pledge to hundreds of laborers on the railroads, 
among whom the drink habit threatened to become a great evil (4). 

Father Whelan had a Sunday School in the church, and he established a week-day school in the 
basement, where the Messrs McNicoll, Kelly and Garrigan taught Catholic children the rudiments 
of secular and religious training. The title to the property was transferred to Bishop Hughes, March 
16, 1842. Father Whelan bought the lot next to the church property on Broadway, on which he 
erected a pastoral residence. Father Whelan died April 27, 1847. He was succeeded by the Rev. 
Patrick Bradley from Auburn, who remained until September of the year following. 

Father Whelan owned the house in which he lived on Broadway, and this he willed to the Sisters 
of Mercy. There was no parochial residence; so when Bishop Timon came he rented a three-story 
brick building on Ellicott Street, nearly opposite the church ; and here he dwelt for some years when 
his many labors permitted him to reside in Buffalo. The theological seminary was started here with 
two or three students (5). Here the bishop dwelt with his household until he removed to the Webster 
homestead, September 10, 1852, on the site of his new cathedral, corner of Franklin and Erie streets. 
When the cathedral was opened to the public old St. Patrick's was turned over to the Sisters of Charity, 
and it became St. Vincent's Orphan Asylum. 


In 1853 there were a number of Catholic families living in what was called the "Hydraulics;" 
and many of these people were engaged in the railroad business, and some of their homes were far out 
Elk and Seneca streets, and the nearest English speaking church was the old St. Patrick's, at the corner 
of Ellicott and Broadway. Old St. Patrick's was at this time overcrowded, and Bishop Timon decided 

(1 ) The second story of the building now used as offices for the street railway company. 

(2) The "Daily Star" gives an account of a burglary at the house of the Rev. Father on the night of January 18, 
1838. A negro stole the Father's Christmas collection, which amounted to $25. The thief was afterwards caught. 

(3) Other names originally on the deed were: John Kinney, Lackey (Malachy) Conway, Andrew McGowan, and 
John Coleman. These had tlieir names erased tearing that they could not successfully carry out the undertaking. 

(4) Contractors furnished whiskey as part payment to their employees; fifty cents a day and three or five jiggers 
(cups) of whiskey was an average day's pay. 

(5) The Very Rev. F. N. Sester was one of the first students at this "petite seminaire." 


to form a new congregation for the convenience of the CathoUc families living in the eastern section 
of the city. Property was bought at the corner of Emslie and Seymour streets. A little frame building 
was erected on the northeast corner of the lot, and here the new church of St. Vincent De Paul was 
established. Bishop Timon dearly loved St. Vincent De Paul, and he named the new church in honor 
of this saint. It bore the name of St. Vincent until the old St. Patrick's had gone out of existence; 
then, when the Franciscan Fathers came, the name of this church was changed into St. Patrick, in 
honor of the patron saint of Ireland. 

Rev. Daniel Moore was assigned by Bishop Timon to this new congregation; and he labored here 
faithfully for three years, forming the people into an organized body and raising funds for the erection 
of a more permanent church building. Father Moore was succeeded in 1855 by the Rev. J. F. Dean, 
who remained here until the end of 1857, when he was succeeded by the Reverend J. McLennon. 
The Rev. J. M. Early and the Rev. A. McConell were also here for a few months before the Franciscans 
came. The Rev. Dr. Barker and the Rev. George McMahon also had temporary charge of St. Pat- 
rick's Church. 

The Franciscan fathers came to St. Patrick's Church in 1858, and they built all the handsome 
property which now serves all the purposes of the prosperous parish of St. Patrick's. Father Sisto 
was at the head of this first band of Franciscans who came to labor in the City of Buffalo. There 
was a little brick building on the property, which was used for a church, when the Franciscans came; 
and they soon erected a building adjoining for a monastery, or dwelling for the community. Now 
Father Sisto remained until 1861, when he was succeeded by Father James, and then came Father 
Bonaventure two years later. Father Bonaventure was succeeded in 1865 by Father Joachim. Father 
Bonaventure came again a short time later and remained untU 1868, when he was succeeded by Father 
James, who remained until 1871. Father James erected the first parochial school in the parish, and 
brought the Franciscan Sisters from Allegany to teach the children of the parish. He also erected a 
commodious convent building on the property for the use of the sisters. Father James died in 1877, 
and several Franciscan Fathers were placed over the parish until the Rev. Angelus O'Connor came. 
The pastors who had charge of the parish during this period were Father Anacletus, Father Edward 
and Father Tranquilino. Father Angelus built the present fine parochial school house, and fitted it 
up with every modern improvement necessary for an efficient school. In the upper story of the building 
is a large hall, which is used for entertainments and for meetings of the societies of the parish. Father 
Angelus began also the very handsome stone structure in Emslie Street, which is one of the fine church 
buildings of the city. This work was completed by his successor, the Rev. Dominic Scanlon. Plans 
were laid also for a handsome chapel in the rear of the church building, which would serve for week-day 
services in the winter season, or for use on special occasions. A very handsome and commodious 
monastery, or parochial house, was also erected adjoining the chapel. These three buildings are of 
brown Medina sandstone, and they form a very handsome and valuable church property. Father 
Scanlon was succeeded by the Rev. Caesar Keiran, who remained at the head of the parish until his 
death, in 1901, when the present pastor, the Rev. Anselm Kennedy, was appointed superior of the 
community and rector of the prosperous parish of St. Patrick's. 


The Rev. Francis Guth retired from St. Louis' Church in April, 1850, and the French speaking 
people also withdrew, and with Father Guth they organized the French congregation of St. Peter's. 
They bought a plain brick building on the corner of Washington and Clinton streets, which had been 
erected five or six years before by the Baptists. The building had a high basement, and here a school 
was formed under the direction of Brother Ferreol. Father Guth left in August, 1851, and was suc- 
ceeded by the Rev. Edward Chevalier. He remained about one year, when the Rev. J. M. Maurice 
took charge until October, 1855. 

The Rev. J. P. Klein, who followed Father Maurice, dwelt in the basement of the church. The 
church was incorporated in his pastorate, and the seven trustees became the managing body. 

The Rev. N. Sester, vicar general for the French and Germans, came in June, 1859, and soon 
placed the affairs of the congregation in good financial shape. 


The Rev. Joseph Sorg, came in 1867, for some months; the Rev. L. Le Breton for one year; the 
Rev. Joseph Zoegel for nearly two years ; the Rev. Charles Berard for six years ; the Rev. F. X. Uhrich, 
the Rev. R. Faure, D. D., the Rev. J. Canmer, for different periods until 1886, when the present pastor. 
Rev. Joseph Fenger, was appointed. 

The little old church was falling to decay; the site was (1) valuable for business, and the pastor 
began to negotiate for a more favorable locality. The congregation finally approved of the site selected 
by Bishop Quigley and the pastor, at the corner of Main and Best streets. Here they erected a splendid 
stone church, which was dedicated January 14, 1900, by Bishop Quigley, under the double title of 
St. Peter and Our Lady of Lourdes. 

The congregation is scattered but the members cherish the traditions of their race, and many come 
occasionally from distant parts of the city to listen to the word of God in the language of their fore- 


Previous to 1875 the German Catholics of South Buffalo were obliged to walk a long distance on 
Sundays to hear the Gospel in their native tongue. The nearest German churches were St. Ann's 
and St. Mary's, and these, in some cases, were two or three miles distant from the German Catholic 
residents of South Buffalo. There were many German Catholic families in what was called the 
"Hydraulics," and Father Baerwalter, S. J., rented a building on Seneca Street, in which he held 
services for the German Catholics of that district. 

The Rev. C. Wagner was sent in May, 1875, to organize a new parish of the Sacred Heart; and 
he immediately fitted up the rented building and celebrated the first mass there on Sunday, May 30th, 
and the following day school was opened also in the same building. The number of German Catholics 
attending the services encouraged the pastor and the prominent men of the new parish to take steps 
towards securing property, on which they could erect a suitable church. Father Wagner called a 
meeting of the gentlemen of the parish, after mass on June 20th, 1875. At this meeting trustees were 
appointed for the parish and the building committee selected, with authority to secure land suitable 
for parish property. The committee selected a site on Seneca Street, with a frontage on Seneca Street, 
and a frontage also on Swan Street. They also purchased two barns, remodeled them and fitted 
them up for a church building. This old building underwent many transformationsa ; and in turn it 
served the purpose of the church, he school, the convent, parochial residence, and at present it is a 
club house and library for the parish. 

The corner-stone of the present brick building was laid in June, 1875. Father Wagner only 
remained a few months when he was succeeded by the Rev. T. Voltz, who completed the church struc- 
ture. The Rev. M. Gessner succeeded Father Voltz in 1877, and shortly afterwards he erected the 
brick school building. Father Gessner remained until September, 1884, when he was succeeded by 
the Rev. W. Riszewski. Father Riszewski was in poor health; and it became necessary for him to have 
an assistant in the person of the Rev. G. Weber, who shortly afterwards succeeded him in the pastorate. 
Father Weber made a great many improvements in the church buildings during his pastorate, to accom- 
modate the growing numbers of his congregation. He bought additional property on Seneca Street 
in 1890, and erected a fine parochial residence adjoining the church. In 1893 he bought additional 
ground on Swan Street, enlarged the school building, and added a hall for the use of the parish. In 
1901 he added a tower to the church and decorated the interior, making it a pleasing and commodious 
church building. 


About the year 1870, many Catholics who were living some distance north of St. Ann's congrega- 
tion and east of St. Louis' parish, discussed the desirability of forming a new congregation. Bishop 
Ryan appointed the Rev. Wm. Gundelach to organize a new parish in the vicinity of Humboldt Park- 
way. Property was secured at the corner of Genesee and Rich Streets, and here the foundations were 

(1) The site was selected by President Cleveland for the new postoffice, but the selection was rejected by the sub- 
sequent administration. 


laid for a school and a church. The corner-stone of the new church was laid on the 2d of June, 1872. 
The building was a plain brick structure, and was ready for services by the following October. The 
Very Rev. Wm. Gleason performed the ceremony of dedication, and the sermon was preached by 
the Rev. Jos. Sorg. The parish was incorporated on the 7th of January, 1877, with the following 
trustees : Right Rev. S. V. Ryan, Very Rev. W. Gleason, Rev. C. Wagner, John Wild and Michael 

The congregation grew so rapidly that it was necessary to enlarge and rebuild the church. This 
work was completed in the summer of 1884, and the church was dedicated the same year by Bishop 
Ryan. Three years later plans were prepared, under the direction of the Rev. Dr. Heiter, for a mag- 
nificent stone church. The corner-stone was laid on June I9th, 1897. Work proceeded slowly on 
the new building, and it was not until September of 1901 that the church was ready for dedication. 
This ceremony was performed by Bishop Ryan, assisted by Bishop Zardetti, on the 20th of September. 
A new school was also built and dedicated by Bishop Ryan, on the 5th of April, 1895. The parish is 
now one of the largest and most important of the German parishes of the diocese. Its affairs are 
ably and wisely conducted by the Rev. Dr. Heiter, who spares no time or labor to further the interests 
of his people. Besides the work of the parish he directs the affairs of the German Orphan Asylum, 
which is located near his church; and he has also played an important part in the suppression of social- 
ism and anarchy amongst the working men of East Buffalo which threatened at one time to wean 
many of the German working men from their fealty to their faith. 


St. Stanislaus was the first church, for people of Polish nationality, organized in the diocese of 
Buffalo. As far back as 1870, Poles began to arrive in Buffalo; and the prospects of business and 
future growth offered a favorable field for future prosperity, and a small band of this nationality estab- 
lished homes in the eastern section of the city. These Poles were earnest and faithful Catholics; and 
shortly after they decided to establish permanent homes in Buffalo, they considered he possibility 
of having a church of their own, or at least services by a priest of their own nationality. Joseph Kujaws- 
ki was one of the earliest Polish settlers in Buffalo, and for many years he was the guiding spirit of the 
Polish population of that section of the city. A meeting was called, at which Mr. Kujawski presided, 
and a society was formed called St. Stanislaus Society, and they obtained from the Jesuits the privilege 
of having a special mass for the Poles in the chapel connected with St. Michael's Church. This was 
the beginning of the St. Stanislaus congregation. 

The Rev. John Pitass, recently ordained, was sent by Bishop Ryan in June, 1873, to look after 
the interests of the Polish people who had settled in eastern Buffalo. He secured property at the 
corner of Peckham and Townsend streets, and immediately erected a frame building in which to hold 
services. The first trustees of the new parish were Joseph Kujawski and J. Hordick. The congrega- 
tion grew rapidly; a great number of Poles settled in Buffalo, and nearly all of them established their 
homes in the district in which the people of their own nationality dwelt. The Polish church 
building was soon too small to accommodate the souls who came there for service on Sun- 
days, and plans were prepared for a magnificent new stone church building. The co.iner- 
stone of the new church was laid on the 27th of May, 1883; and the building was rushed 
to completion, and was ready for services the following year. The old church building was 
converted into a school house, and was used for this purpose until a magnificent new school 
building was erected some years later. 

St. Stanislaus is one of the largest congregations in the United States, and contains about 20,000 
souls. There are about 2,000 children attending the school, which is taught by twenty-four nuns and 
five lay teachers. 

Father Pitass has presided over the destinies of this congregation for nearly a third of a century, 
and during all that period he has been not only a guide to his own people but also leader of the vast 
Polish population in Buffalo. The prosperity of many Polish institutions is due to his direction and 
advice. At the synod held in October, 1901, he was made an irremovable rector. 


ST. Stephen's church, buffalo. 

The great iron industries brought many residents to South Buffalo about the year 1874. St. 
Bridget's Church was overcrowded ; and many of the people of that parish had a long distance to come 
on Sundays, which was a grievous task for some of the old people, and inconvenient at some seasons 
of the year also for the young. Bishop Ryan therefore resolved in 1875, to establish a new parish, at 
some convenient locality in South Buffalo. He appointed for this work the Rev. Eugene McDermott, 
who was well acquainted with the locality and with the people, from his residence, as assistant pastor 
of St. Bridget's. He dwelt for some months at the parish residence of St. Bridget's parish, whilst he 
was organizing his congregation and erecting a building in which they might hold services. He secured 
property in Elk Street, and on this land he erected a plain brick building. He built also a little frame 
structure in the rear of this building, and in this little shanty he established his residence. He secured 
more property, April, 1878, south of the church building, and on a part of this lot he erected a brick 
parish residence. 

This portion of the city grew very rapidly, and in a few years the little brick church was inade- 
quate to accommodate the number of people who came there to hear mass on Sundays. Father 
McDermott was very energetic and possessed good business and executive ability; and he at once 
decided to erect a fine stone church building, which would serve the needs of the parish for all time to 
come, and which would be a credit to the congregation and an ornament to that part of the city. He 
superintended the work himself; and the new stone building went up around the walls of the little 
brick church, in which services were held until the new church building was ready for the use of the 
congregation. More property was secured in the rear of the church building, and the two-story frame 
structure was converted into a school for the children of the parish. The Sisters of Mercy came from 
St. Bridget's, on Fulton Street, until the new convent building was erected for their use, adjoining the 
church. Father McDermott erected a magnificent school building on the corner of Elk St. and Euclid 
Place, with a large hall in the upper story for the uses of the societies of the parish and school enter- 

All these buildings were erected in a few years, of very substantial material and in good style, 
under the immediate supervision of the energetic pastor of St. Stephen's. Father McDermott remained 
here as pastor until his death in 1898, when he was succeeded by the Rev. H. M. Leddy. Father 
Leddy found the parish carrying a heavy burden of debt when he took charge of this congregation, 
but he is now energetically engaged in reducing this heavy obligation whilst he continues to make 
improvements for the welfare of this prosperous church. 


In 1897 there was a large settlement in South Buffalo, south of Buffalo Creek. The Catholics 
among the population of this district had long distances to travel to church. The churches that were 
nearest to them were St. Stephen's on Elk Street, and the church at West Seneca; and either one of these 
was too far for many of the people in disagreeable weather. The bishop decided to establish a new 
parish for the people of this district. In April, 1897, the Rev. M. J. Kean was appointed pastor of 
the new parish. He immediately assembled his people, and held the first service in an old abandoned 
public school on Cazenovia Street. This was a little brick building, and it served the purpose of the 
congregation for over two years, until their handsome new church was ready for dedication. In 
April, 1898, the congregation was organized as an incorporated body, and the following trustees com- 
posed the first official representatives of St. Theresa's parish: Rt. Rev. J. Quigley, President; Very 
Rev. M. P. Connery, Vicar-General; Rev. M. J. Kean, Treasurer; Mr. F. E. Finsterbach, Secretary, 
and Mr. Wm. H. Fitzpatrick. The parish was incorporated under the title of St. Theresa's Roman 
Catholic Church Society of Buffalo, N. Y. The handsome property of Mr. Wm. H. Fitzpatrick, at 
974 Seneca Street, was purchased and also a lot on the corner of Seneca and Hayden streets was bought 
from Nelson Holland. Plans were prepared by Architect Post, for a brown stone church building, 
which would be sufficiently large to accommodate 600 persons. Mr. M. J. McDonough received the 
contract for the mason work, and Mr. Anthony Klaus received the contract for the carpenter work. 
Ground was broken in June, 1898, and the corner-stone was laid on the 24th of the month following, 



by Bishop Quigley. Work was hurried on the new building , because the congregation was threatened 
with eviction from the Httle brick school building, as this was required as an annex to the over-crowded 
No. 27 public school. The first services were held in the new church on the 21st of May, 1899. The 
handsome residence, which Mr. Fitzpatrick had built for his own use, was purchased along with the 
property and is the parochial residence of the pastor. St. Theresa's is a very handsome brown stone 
structure, and is a credit to the pastor and his congregation, and an ornament to South Buffalo. 


The Polish population of Buffalo increased very rapidly in 1890 and the following years. The 
churches in the Polish settlements in East Buffalo were over-crowded; and Bishop Ryan decided to 
form another congregation, south of the large original parishes of St. Stanislaus and St. Adelbert. He 
selected the Rev. Jas. Wojcik, who was then pastor of the church of the Assumption, at Black Rock, 
to organize a new congregation. Property was purchased at the corner of Sycamore and Mills streets, 
and a little frame building erected, which served as a church and school. The church was blessed by 
Bishop Ryan on the 27th of October, 1893, and the new pastor took up his residence there in November 
of the same year. There were about one hundred and fifty families in the new congregation, and fifty- 
eight children came for the opening of the parochial school. The congregation increased very rapidly; 
and it soon became evident that a very large church would be necessary to provide for the future wants, 
of what was evidently destined to become a very large parish. Father Wojcik was fully alive to the 
wants of his growing congregation, and he had plans drawn for a magnificent brick church. The 
corner-stone of the new edifice was laid the last day of June, 1896. This ceremony was performed by 
the Very Rev. Peter Wawrzyniak, one of the domestic prelates of the Vatican, who was then visiting 
the United States. On the 5th of July, 1897, Bishop Quigley, assisted by a large number of priests, 
before a great congregation, blessed the newly erected church. This church is a very handsome 
structure, situated on the corner of Sycamore and Mills streets. It will accommodate fourteen hun- 
dred people, and it is none too large for the very important and prosperous parish. Father 
Wojcik erected also a very handsome parochial residence, on Mills Street, adjoining the church. There 
are about eight hundred families in the parish, and six hundred and seventy children attend the parochial 
school. Father Wojcik is very enterprising and energetic; and in less than ten years he has organized 
a parish which reflects credit on the pastor, and is an evidence of the generosity of his people. 


The growth of East Buffalo, shortly after the consecration of Bishop Quigley, suggested the need 
of more church accommodations for the English speaking Catholics of that district. The nearest 
English speaking church was St. Patrick's; and for three or four miles eastward of St. Patrick's Church 
there were many English speaking Catholic families, who found the distance to St. Patrick's very incon- 
venient on Sundays. Bishop Quigley, therefore, resolved to offer them more convenient church 
accommodations, and he commissioned the Rev. Daniel O'Brien to organize two congregations in the 
summer of 1898. Father O'Brien said the first mass in this district in the furniture store, on the corner 
of Lovejoy and North Ogden streets, on the 21st of August, 1898. In September of the same year Father 
O'Brien purchased property on the corner of Lovejoy and Greene streets, and on this property, in the 
year following, he erected a large handsome school building which serves the purpose of church and 
school. The building was completed and the first mass celebrated in the new building on the 1st of 
November, 1899. The school was opened in the same building in the latter part of January, 1900. 
A comfortable parochial residence was also finished at the same time. 

Father O'Brien had also organized the congregation to the Precious Blood at the same time that 
he formed the Visitation parish, but these two congregations gave such evidences of growth that they 
were separated and made distinct parishes in 1900. The Rev. T. Gleason was appointed pastor of 
the Precious Blood parish, whilst Father O'Brien remained as pastor of the church on Greene and 
Lovejoy streets. 


Father O'Brien has recently added a convent to his church property, and the parish is making 
rapid progress and gives evidence of becoming one of the important parishes of the diocese. 


A number of Catholic families had located in the northeastern part of the city beyond the Cold 
Spring district, in 1860, and subsequent years. These were mostly German families, and they attended 
services at St. Louis' Church or St. Joseph's at Elysville; but both of these were three or four miles 
distant from their homes. In 1864, there were about forty families residing near what is now Hum- 
boldt Parkway, and Bishop Timon commissioned the Rev. J. Sorg, who was his secretary and lived 
with him at the cathedral, to organize these families into a congregation and start a little church for 
them. Father Sorg continued to visit the little congregation until a chapel was built, on land which 
had been purchased on Main Street, between Humboldt Parkway and Jefferson Street. 

This congregation did not increase very rapidly, because the location was far removed from the 
business section of the city, and there was no industrial enterprise in the immediate vicinity except the 
Yamerthal stone quarries. After Father Sorg, the little congregation was attended by the Redemp- 
torists and by the Jesuits. The names of the pastors who directed the affairs of the parish during this 
period were : Father Hoffschneider, Father Kech and Father Dallez, until Father Scheffels came as 
resident pastor. A parochial residence was built and a little school established. The pastors who 
followed Father Scheffels were: Rev. M. Phillips, Rev. A. Adolph and Rev. M. Clemenz. A new 
brick church was erected, which was enlarged by Father Clemenz' successor, the Rev. P. Theis. 

Rev. G. Grill, the present pastor, has presided over the parish for seven or eight years, and one 
year ago he completed a magnificent parochial school building. The parish is situated in a favorable 
and healthful locality; and as the city is graudally extending in that direction, in a few years this will 
be one of the large parishes of the city. 


Priests came occasionally from Buffalo, Batavia or Springbrook to Akron, before any attempt 
was made to organize a parish or build a church. The following priests visited Akron: Rev. J. M. 
Early, 1853-54; Rev. M. Kavanagh, 1854-56; Rev. J. V. O'Donohue, 1856-58; Rev. D. English, 
1859-61. In 1865 property was bought in a central location in the town, and a little frame building 
was erected on this land for church purposes. The priest came here occasionally from Springbrook 
until it became a regularly attended mission, attached to the parish of Springbrook. In 1866 the Rev. 
J. Constant dwelt at Akron for a short period as the first resident pastor. The parish, however, was 
not sufficiently strong to support a resident pastor at this time, and it again was attached to the parish 
of Springbrook. About 1869 Akron was formed into a parish with a resident pastor, and for many 
years Crittenden formed with it one parish. Like most other small places, Akron had a long list of 
pastors. The following remained for different periods as pastors of the little parish: The Rev. P. 
Mazureth, Rev. J. O'Donoghue, Rev. M. O'Dwyer, Rev. P. O'Mara, Rev. E. J. Dailey, Rev. M. 
O'Shea, and Rev. T. Herrick. 

The parish had no notable events in its history, nor important changes in its buildings or surround- 
ings, until the advent of the Rev. M. P. Connery. Father Connery came in 1881; and he soon after- 
wards sold the little church building, which was moved from the grounds and converted into a hotel, 
and still exists, and is known as the West Shore Hotel. The Rev. J. O'Donoghue had purchased this 
building from the Baptists, and had sold the first church built by the Catholics of Akron to the Luther- 
ans, and it still does duty in the town as a meeting house for the members of the Lutheran domination. 
Father Connery immediately erected a handsome and convenient church building and a comfortable 
parochial residence, on the land which had been purchased some years previous. Father Connery 
remained here five or six years and placed the property in very good condition, and left it without debt. 

When the Pembroke parish was formed Crittenden was detached from Akron and became a part of 
the new parish. After Father Connery came the Rev. W. Morrison, the Rev. E. Purcell, the Rev. E. Duffy 
and the Rev. R. Kingston, as pastors of the Akron pa,rish. For many years the parish has remained stable 
in numbers, and has not required any great improvements to supply any urgent needs of the congregation. 


ST. Joseph's church, albion. 

A few Irish Catholic families established homes at Albion about the year 1840. Among the earliest 
settlers were: Samuel McCaffrey, John Walsh, Felix McCann, Dennis Sullivan, Patrick McMahon, 
Bernard Flaherty and Thomas Crean. The first mass was celebrated in the home of John Walsh, 
near the present Carolina Street, about the year 1840, by the Rev. Patrick Costello of Lockport. Mass 
was said here about once a month, and as the numbers increased, a large room was rented for services 
in the Burrows Block. Outside of these uncertain visits of the priest, the people were obliged to send 
to Lockport or Rochester for a clergyman when they were sick, or to journey to one of these places 
when they wished to be married or to have their children baptized. 

Bishop Timon visited Albion in June, 1849, accompanied by Father Harmon of Medina. A site 
was selected for a church on North Main Street; and soon after work was begun on the building, which 
was not finished, however, until Father O'Connor completed the work in 1852, when the first mass 
was celebrated in it on Palm Sunday. 

The Rev. M. Byrne was appointed the first resident pastor in February, 1856, and remained until 
November, when he was succeeded by the Rev. P. Bradley. Father Bradley was succeeded in April, 
1860, by the Rev. P. Barker, who remained until December, 1861, when the Rev. M. Stephans came. 
The Rev. J. Castaldi was appointed pastor in 1862, and remained until his death in 1895. 

A parochial residence was built by Father Castaldi the year of his arrival. A school house was 
built in 1869, and the Sisters of Mercy came in January, 1870, and opened the school with 200 pupils. 
In April, 1874, twenty-six acres of land were purchased for a cemetery. The residence of Mrs. M. J. 
English, with eight acres of land, was purchased in April, 1876, for the Sisters' convent. 

The parish had been elevated to the rank of irremovable rectorship; and at Father Castaldi's 
death in March, 1895, the Rev. John D. Biden was selected as the rector of Albion. Father Biden 
found much work before him, but he also had a generous congregation to encourage him. With 
nearly $5,000 raised at a fair, and over $6,000 pledged in subscriptions. Father Biden planned a new 
church. He bought the Stafford property at Main and Park streets, in January, 1896, for $9,000. 
The house alone was worth the purchase price. The corner-stone of the new church was laid June 
28th, by Bishop McQuaid of Rochester. 

The building was hurried along, and the church was opened with a solemn high mass at midnight 
the following Christmas. Father Biden was called to Buffalo in April, 1897, and the Rev. Francis 
Sullivan was appointed rector of Albion. Father Biden had built the church at a cost of $40,000, 
Father Sullivan hastened the completion, and it was dedicated September 26th, by Bishop Quigley. 
Bishop McQuaid preached the dedication sermon. 

The Western House of Refuge was opened in Albion in 1897. Father Sullivan says mass in the 
institution twice a month. 


Previous to 1850 the few Catholics who dwelt at Alden were obliged to journey to Lancaster, or 
Bennington, when they wished to hear mass on Sundays. In the early spring of 1850 Father Serge de 
Schoulepnikoff, who was then pastor at Lancaster, made an effort to organize a congregation at Alden. 
Land was bought on the 29th of April, 1850, from George Sudle. A little frame church was begun 
shortly after, and the corner-stone was laid by Bishop Timon on the 9th of November of the same 
year. The congregation, however, was not large enough to support a resident pastor, and the priest 
from Lancaster attended the little congregation occasionally until 1854, when a resident pastor, was 
stationed at Alden. Father Schoulepnikoff had charge of the little congregation in 1851, and again 
in 1853. The Rev. F. S. Uhrich came from Lancaster occasionally during 1852, and the summer of 
1853. Father Rief came also a few times during the late summer of 1853. The first resident pastor 
was probably the Rev. N. L. Neumann, who came in March, 1854. The first baptism in the register 
was recorded on the 5th of March, 1854. 

The first little church served the congregation until 1872, when the Rev. F. X. Kofler built an 
addition to the original building to give more room to the growing congregation. This building 
served the purposes of a church for the congregation until 1893, when the Rev. Peter Theis began the 


construction of the present brick building. Father Theis' health gave way, and he was succeeded in 
February, 1894, by the Rev. Jos. M. Thies, who completed the church building begun by his prede- 
cessor. Bishop Ryan dedicated the building on the 29th of October, 1894. 

The first school was organized about the tiine that the first resident pastor came to dwell at Alden. 
For many years after its inception lay school masters taught the children the rudiments of educat on 
and the principles of their religion. Among these teachers were: Mr. Smith, Mr. Victor Irr, and Mr. 
Eugene Irr, and they are still remembered by some of their pupils who are at present residents of Alden. 
In 1876 the sisters of St. Joseph took charge of the school, and they still successfully teach the children 
of the parish. The present school building was erected in 1882, by the Rev. G. Gysen. 

For several years after a priest came to dwell at Alden there was no parochial residence, and the 
pastor boarded in the vicinity of the church with a family named Bohmer. The first parochial resi- 
dence was built in 1860, by the Rev. M. Schinabeck. This was a small little building, which gave 
way in 1889 to the present commodious residence, which was built by the Rev. Peter Theis. 

The following long list of pastors presided over the destinies of the Alden parish after the retire- 
ment of the Rev. N. L. Neumann: The Rev. S. Gruber, July, 1854, to July, 1856; Rev. P. Seibold, 
to July, 1857; Rev. S. Eicher, to April, 1858; Rev. A. Saeger, to August, 1858; Rev. M. Lachert, to 
March, 1859; Rev. P. Poch, to March, 1860; Rev. M. Schinabeck, to October, 1861; Rev. Heim- 
bucher, to February, 1862; Rev. L. Ewald, to July, 1862; Rev. J. N. Arent, to July, 1870. Rev. J. 
N. Arent came a second time for two years, from March, 1873. The Rev. C. Wensierski, from August, 
1870, to June, 1871; Rev. F. X. Kofler, to February, 1873; Rev. Neibling, from May, 1875; Rev. 
A. Adolph, from February, 1876, to April, 1878; Rev. J. Schneider, to September, 1879; Rev. G 
Gysen, to February, 1883; Rev. I. Sager, to February, 1888; Rev. G. Weber, to September, 1888; 
Rev. P. Theis, to February, 1894; Rev. J. M. Thies, to September, 1896; Rev. J. C. Bubenheim, to 
Nov. 1898. The Rev. A. Bornefeld succeeded Father Bubenheim in November, 1896, and still con- 
tinues to successfully guide the destinies of this little parish. 

The Jesuit missionary, the Rev. Father Wenniger, conducted a mission here in 1854, and on that 
occasion he erected a great mission cross in front of the church which stood there until the year 1900. 
For several years the little mission of East Bennington formed a part of the Alden parish, and was 
attended by the priest from the latter place until a church was erected at Bennington Center, and these 
two little places formed a parish with a resident pastor at Bennington Center. 


There were only a few lumbermen at Allegany before the building of the railroad, but this work 
brought hundreds of men to this region, and many of these were Irish Catholics. Father Doran visited 
the Catholic railroad employees in 1850, and said mass for them. This is the first record of any Catholic 
service in this region. Father Doran was followed by Fathers Mclvers, Walsh and McKenna in 
succession until 1855, when the Franciscan colony (1) arrived from Rome. 

The Franciscans began their labors in a frame house (2), at Ellicottville where they started a little 
class with three or four students. This was the beginning of the present great institution at Allegany. 
They selected a beautiful spot near the northern bank of the Allegany River, and here they laid the 
corner-stone of their college and seminary for ecclesiastical students. Bishop Timon conducted the 
services, assisted by Bishop Loughlin of Brooklyn and many priests from Buffalo and neighboring 

The chapel and one wing were ready for occupancy in the fall of 1858, and they wei-e blessed with 
appropriate ceremonies, on the 4th of October, 1858, by the Very Rev. Francis OTarrell, vicar-general 

(1) Mr. Nicholas Deveraux, of Utica, had large tracts of land in Allegany and Cattaraugus counties in which he 
desired to locate colonies of Catholics. To encourage Catholics to settle in the district Mr. Deveraux made a journey 
to Rome in 1845, and applied at the Irish Franciscan College of St. Isadore for a colony of the Order to found a Monas- 
tery on his property, offering them $5,000 and two hundred acres of land. Bishop Timon was in Rome at the time, and 
he added his request to that of Mr. Deveraux. They succeeded in their mission; and Fathers Pamphilo de Magliano, 
Father Sisto de Gagliano and Father Samuel de Prezza with Salvatore de Manarola, a lay brother, were soon on their 
way to found the first house of their Order in Western New York, and established their first province in the United 
States. They left Rome May 9, 1850, and landed at New York on the 19th of June. 

(2) This afterwards became the residence of the pastor. 


of the diocese. Father Pamphilo, the provincial, sang the mass; and the choir, under the direction of 
Mrs. J. C. Deveraux, furnished the music. More students and more professors came in the following 
years, and the institution was launched on its successful career at its first public commencemient exer- 
cises in July, 1860. Since then it has graduated every year many priests for the Church, and many 
well educated laymen for business and the professions. 

The Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis came in 1858, and soon afterwards they established 
an academy for the education of young girls. 

The Franciscan Fathers organized many congregations in Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua 
and Steuben counties. For some time they attended Ellicottville, Olean, Cuba, Scio, Andover, Green- 
wood, Randolph, Jamestown, Chapelsburg and Chipmunk. The church at Allegany was started by 
Mr. Deveraux in 1854, and was finished two years later by the Franciscans. 


The first Catholic settlers at Andover attended the old Greenwood church. The first mass in 
Andover was said about 1848, by Father Thomas McAvoy, who had lectured the previous evening. 
The first public Catholic services were held about the year 1850, by Father John Touhey. 

The erection of the first Catholic church was begun in the spring of 1855. Father John, as he 
was familiarly called, no doubt named the church St. John's, in honor of his patron saint. He at- 
tended it from Greenwood every other Sunday. He was succeeded about 1857, by his nephew, Father 
James Touhey, after whom came Father Arthur McConnell. In 1866, Father McConnell purchased 
a house in Andover, and became its first resident pastor, attending Greenwood also; but after a couple 
of years he moved to Wellsville, where he died February 2, 1870. Andover thereby lost its resident 
priest, and was made an out-mission of Wellsville, continuing to be such during the pastorate of Father 
Pliilip Kinsella, who was in charge of Wellsville and Andover from 1870 until 1879, when Father 
George Dunbar attended Andover from Belmont. At dififerent times the Franciscan Fathers came 
from Allegany to attend to the spiritual wants of the people. 

About 1880 Father Bernard Clark became resident pastor of St. John's Church. He died at 
Andover, January 2, 1882, and was succeeded by Rev. Thomas Herrick. 

On April 14, 1883, Rev. Daniel Walsh took charge of the mission, and on July 13th of the same 
year the present church property was purchased. Sunday, August 9, 1885, the corner-stone of the 
new Blessed Sacrament Church was laid by the Rt. Rev. Stephen Vincent Ryan, Father Cronin preach- 
ing the sermon; and on September 26, 1886, Bishop Ryan dedicated the church to the service of God. 

In September, 1888, Father Walsh was called to Buffalo to build the Working Boys' Home, and 
was succeeded by Rev. Maurice J. Lee. Father Lee remained only a few months, and was followed 
by Father John H. Brown, March 1, 1889, who remained until his death, on June 23, 1892. Rev. 
John D. Biden succeeded, and during his pastorate from July 1, 1892, to June 7, 1893, he had the 
church frescoed, and installed a pipe organ. 

Father Thomas A. Murray was appointed pastor and took charge June 11, 1893. During the 
eight years under his management the parish property became the finest church property in Andover. 
He removed the old buildings, enlarged and modernized the parochial residence, graded the lawn, laid 
a stone walk on Church Street, besides clearing the property from debt. He was succeeded on May 
25, 1901, by the present pastor, Rev. Edward J. Rengel. 


The first Catholic settlers came to Angola about the year 1850. In those early days mass was 
said occasionally in the home of one of the Catholic families of the town, whenever a priest from Dun- 
kirk or Buffalo came that way. There was a little cluster of Catholics also at North Evans, and the 
same priest who came to Angola also said mass in Mr. Kennedy's cottage at North Evans, near the 
present freight house of the Lake Shore R. R. The first priest who is remembered to have visited 
this place was tlie Rev. Wm. McGurgan, who came a few times in the early sixties. The Rev. E. 
Sotis came a few times up to 1870. Father Eusebius advised Bishop Ryan to send a resident pastor 
to Angola, because he believed that at this time there were a sufficient number of Catholics in that 


vicinity that would require the attention of a resident pastor. Bishop Ryan appointed the Rev. Thos. 
Ledwith as the first resident pastor of Angola. Father Ledwith came in 1871, and he immediately 
purchased an old school building and fitted it up for church purposes. Father Ledwith was succeeded 
in 1874 by the Rev. Thos. Carraher. The following pastors directed the affairs of the parish after 
Father Carraher up to the time of the appointment of the Rev. J. McCarthy : The Rev. A. Barlow, 
April, 1878; Rev. J. O'Loughhn, November, 1879; Rev. C. O'Byrne, March, 1881; Rev. J. Laffan, 
July, 1881; Rev. G. Burns, June, 1882; Rev. J. P. Grant, February, 1884. Father McCarthy was 
appointed in 1886; and he used the old church building until it became too disreputable for a Catholic 
church, and he decided to erect a fire brick structure, which would be an ornament to the town and a 
credit to the Catholics. The church was completed and dedicated in 1894. Father McCarthy re- 
mained here until September, 1892, when he was succeeded by the present pastor, the Rev. Father 


The Rev. N. Mertz came a few times from his home at White's Corners, or Hamburg, in the early 
forties, and said mass a few times in the homes of Joseph Guiney, Andrew Schappacher, John Kinney, 
or James Ryan. 

It is said that the little church here was built in 1851. Mr. H. Byron donated a lot, and the Catho- 
lics of the town formed a kind of bee in the winter season; and they proceeded to Hemlock Grove, 
owned by Mr. Guiney, where they hewed enough of timber for the building, wliieh was erected by 
Joseph Setter. Many Catholics were employed at this time on the construction of the Buffalo & 
State Line R. R., and these assisted with their contributions in paying the necessary expenses connected 
with the building of the little church. 

The Rev. Peter Colgan visited North Evans occasionally from Dunkirk until 1856. From 1856 
to 1862 North Evans was visited occasionally by priests from the cathedral at Buffalo. In 1862 the 
little congregation was united with the Passionist parish at Dunkirk, and was visited a few times by 
the Rev. A. McGuigan, the Rev. W. Geagan, Father O. Bach, Father Basil, Father O'Donnell, Father 
Lang, Father Vitalino and Father Sotis, until 1871, when it formed a part of the parish of Angola. 


A few Catholics settled in Silver Creek also in the early forties, but there is no record of any mass 
being said there before the advent of the Rev. Peter Colgan, who said mass at a very early date in the 
home of Mr. Jos. Clohessy. When the Passionists began to visit North Evans they occasionally 
directed their attention to the few Cathohcs settled at Silver Creek. From 1862 mass was occasionally 
celebrated in the old bank hall. When the Rev. G. Burns was pastor of Angola he secured a site on 
Oak Hill for a church, and on this land he erected the present handsome little building, which is used 
as a church for the Catholics of this prosperous little town. There are about forty Sicilian families 
in Silver Creek, and with the thirty families of Irish and Germans they make up a respectable little 


This little village is located about five miles from Angola. This is a new town which has sprung 
into existence, and is inhabited particularly by Sicilians, who are engaged in the canning industry. The 
present pastor of Angola secured land here for a church, and has now a pretty Uttle building in process 
of construction. 


For many years the Catholics living at Attica were attended occasionally by the priests from 
Batavia. Father Fitzgerald, on February 4th, 1851, wrote to Bishop Timon that he hoped soon to 
secure a lot at Attica on which he could build a church, so that the Catholics there might have a place 
in which they could hear mass. He stated also that there was a bitter feeling at Attica of prejudice 


against the Catholics, and he intended to secure the land through a Mr. Martin. For some years the 
German Catholics at Attica attended mass at Bennington, whenever the weather permitted. There 
were six or seven Irish Catholic families at Attica in 1856, and under the direction of the bishop they 
organized a congregation, and built a little frame church at a cost of $750.00. Prominent amongst 
the Catholics of that date were: Thomas O'Herin, Michael Cornwell, Patrick Conlon, Dennis Shea 
and Daniel Hanefin. The little frame church was built on the hillside, some distance from the town. 
The congregation evidently gave promise of growth, and Bishop Timon sent the Rev. J. O'Donoghue 
there in 1857, as the first resident pastor of Attica. From Attica Father O'Donoghue visited many 
of the little settlements in Wyoming, Genesee and Erie counties, where there were Catholics who were 
not attached to any organized congregation. Father O'Donoghue remained for more than one year, 
dwelling at the homes of some of the Catholic families of the town. The promise of growth in the 
congregation, however, was not fulfilled; and after a year's residence Father O'Donoghue was removed 
to another field, and no successor was appointed to the little parish of Attica, which again became an 
out-mission of Batavia. 

It was more than twenty years later when the next resident pastor came to dwell at Attica. The 
Rev. J. E. Quigley, D. D., was appointed pastor of Attica, in November, 1879. He made his home 
at first in a hotel near the railroad, and from there he was obliged to walk nearly half a mile to the 
little church on the hillside. He soon secured a favorable site in the town, and began the erection of 
a little frame building for a church, and a parochial residence for the pastor. These were ready for 
occupation in 1882, and the pastor and congregation rejoiced in the convenience of a church in the 
town, which could be reached in the winter season without struggling through several feet of 

Dr. Quigley remained here until March, 1884, when he was succeeded by the Rev. C. O'Byrne. 
Father O'Byrne remained a little more than a year when he was succeeded by the Rev. J. C. O'Reilly. 
Father O'Reilly was here about a year and one-half when he was succeeded by the Rev. T. Haire. 
Father Haire was pastor for three years when he was succeeded by the Rev. W. T. Wilbur. Father 
Wilbur was pastor for nearly eight years, until May, 1897, when he was succeeded by the present 
pastor, the Rev. J. F. Gardiner. The congregation of Attica is practically stationary, and the improve- 
ments of years ago will serve for many years to come. 


Batavia was on the line of the old highway from Allegany to Niagara. An important land office 
was located here, and settlers soon located at Batavia, which gave evidence of future growth. The 
Rev. John Neumann was the first priest to visit Batavia. He came from Williamsville in 1837; said 
mass in the house of a tailor, and baptized twelve persons, some of them children, but others who were 
as old as fourteen. Father Neumann came a few times up to 1840. The Rev. Theo. Noethen came 
four or five times a year until 1845. 

The Rev. B. O'Rielly and his brother, the Rev. William, came occasionally in the subsequent 
years, and said mass in the homes of James Ronan or Edward O'Connor. As the Catholics grew in 
numbers a private house was too small to accommodate them, and they secured a large room over 
Worthington's hardware store, where services were held. The Rev. T. McEvoy also came a few 
times in 1848, and until a resident pastor was appointed. 

The Rev. E. Dillon was sent to Batavia as the first resident pastor, April 4, 1849; and the follow- 
ing Sunday, which was Easter Sunday, he said mass in the brick school house, which was situated on 
the corner of Main and Eagle streets. Bishop Timon came shortly after Father Dillon's arrival, and 
lectured in a small hall. He encouraged the people to secure a suitable place for divine service. A 
few days later they bought from Ben. Pringle a two-story stone building on Jaskson Street that had 
been used for an academy, and here they worshipped for some years. 

Father Dillon was succeeded in November, 1850, by the Rev. Fitzgerald, who remained until 
September, 1852, when the Rev. Francis O'Farrell came. Father O'Farrell was made vicar-general 
of the diocese in December, 1855, and was succeeded at Batavia by the Rev. Peter Brown. Father 
Brown remained about one year when he was succeeded by the Rev. James McGlue, who continued 
until December, 1860, when the Rev. T. Cunningham came. 


Father Cunningham bought the larger site on the corner of Main and Summit streets, in 1862, 
and erected the splendid edifice on the property. He labored here for twelve years, and is still revered 
by the congregation for his zealous works and holy life. 

The Rev. P. A. Maloy came in August, 1873, but was succeeded one year later by the Rev. M. 
McDonald, who remained until April, 1880, when the Rev. James McManus came. Father McManus 
died in January, 1882, and the Rev. Thomas Brougham, the present pastor was appointed. Father 
Brougham sold the old convent on Jackson Street, and built a new one on Summit Street near the 
school. He also bought the property adjoining the church on Main Street, and erected a splendid 
parochial residence, which was immediately paid for by the generous contributions of the people. 

This is one of the important parishes of the diocese. It enjoys the privilege of an irremovable 
rector, who is also dean of Wyoming County, Genesee and Erie counties. 


Various priests probably said mass in the shanties along the line of the canal when men were 
engaged in its construction, but the Rev. T. McEvoy was the first known to have said mass in the 
present town of Belfast. He held services over the store of A. J. Lewis. 

After the opening of the canal many Catholics settled on the farm lands and in the town, and 
they hastened to erect a little building in which they might have mass. Judge Benjamin Chamberlain 
gave a plot of land for the church. This land was covered with stumps, and a "bee" was organized 
to put the land in condition for building. The building committee was composed of James Downing, 
Patrick Fennessey and James Markham, and they erected a little 30 x 40 frame church. An addition, 
30 X 60 was made in 1873, and the remodeled building was dedicated August 20, 1878. 

The Catholics of this region had very meagre opportunities of learning the principles of their 
religion. The priest came for many years very irregularly; and even when he did come he could not 
give much time to the instruction of the young, but hurried away to fulfill other important duties. 
The effect of this neglect was manifest in the acts of the young. When they were ready for marriage 
they did not wait for the arrival of the priest but hastened to the squire; and it was only the strong 
faith of their elders that kept them in the line of religious duty. 

Up to 1869 the little congregation was only intermittently visited by the priest, generally from 
Hornellsville ; but in this year the Rev. James H. Leddy was stationed at Belmont as resident pastor, 
and established regular services in the little church at Belfast. The priests who looked after the 
interests of the Catholics in Belfast immediately preceding Father Haire were: Rev. G. Dunbar, 
Rev. T. Ledwith, Rev. J. O'Mara and Rev. A. Barlow. 

During Father Haire's pastorate the little frame church was destroyed by fire. With character- 
istic energy Father Haire immediately started the construction of the handsome brick church, which 
was completed at a cost of nearly $25,000. The Rev. T. Barrett continued Father Haire's work, after 
the latter's transfer to Olean, until the present pastor, the Rev. J. J. Dealy was appointed in March, 

Father Dealy induced Mr. Muldoon to donate his splendid residence property to the church for 
a convent, and school for the Catholic children of Belfast. 


The Rev. T. McEvoy paid many visits to the various settlements in this region during the period 
of the canal building. He lived at Java; and he would drive over and remain for days and sometimes 
for weeks, visiting the section of work, saying mass in a school house, in one of the shacks or in the 
house of one of the settlers. He said mass in the school house at Friendship in 1840; and he came 
occasionally for four or five years, saying mass in the home of Mr. McCasson or, Timothy Culbert, or 
at William Clancy's, in Scio. There would be one or two hundred present at these services, some of 
them coming twenty miles to hear mass and receive the sacraments. 

In 1848 the people at Scio determined to build a church. Mr. Hugh Riley donated the land, 
and Terence Brady, Peter and Thomas Coyle, Jeremiah Sheehan, James Crosby, John and David 
Magner, B. Brady, J. Keenan, J. Quinn, M. O'Leary, J. and L. Cline, helped along the work by 
money and labor. 


The mission stations in Allegany County were attended from Greenwood about 1848, and then 
from Hornellsville by Rev. M. O'Brien and Rev. D. Moore, until the Franciscans from Allegany took 
charge of them. As the Franciscans started houses of their order in Buffalo and elsewhere, the scarcity 
of priests of their order who could speak English obliged them to give up some of their missions in 
Allegany County. Belmont was then attended by the Rer. John Twohey and the Rev. M. Creedon, 
from Hornellsville. The Rev. E. McGlue succeeded Father Creedon and built the church here in 
1862 ; then the Rev. A. J. McConnell came for a few years, until the Rev. J. Leddy came here to reside 
in 1869. 

The Rev. J. A. Lanigan came for a few months in 1873, when the Rev. E. McDermott came and 
built the parochial residence. The Rev. G. Dunbar came in 1874, fresh from the seminary, and labored 
zealously until his death in 1881. The Rev. A. R. Barlow and the Rev. J. Lasher had charge of this 
parish for one year each after Father Dunbar's death; then the Rev. P. Berkery came and dwelt here 
until 1890. After Father Berkery came in rapid succession the Rev. J. Lafferty, the Rev. D. M. 
Riely, the Rev. F. J. Brown, the Rev. J. J. Dealy, the Rev. F. Myers and the Rev. T. Gleason until 
1900, when the present pastor, the Rev. J. E. Kelly took charge. 


Angelica was the first place in Allegany County that assumed the importance of a settlement. 
The fine timber region, the prospects of water power from the Genesee, the possibility of river trans- 
portation, brought settlers here before the last century was a year old. The first comers were men 
of enterprise, and they made Angelica the county seat as soon as Allegany was formed from Genesee 

There were probably no Catholics among these early settlers when the Genesee Valley Canal was 
begun in 1837; hundred of Irish and Germans and Scotch flocked to this region, and among these 
there were many faithful sons of the Church. The Rev. Bernard O'Reilly, of Rochester, or the Rev. 
Charles Smith, of Buffalo, most probably visited the gangs along the works, and said mass for them 
in their shanties; but no written record has been preserved of visitation by these zealous shepherds. 
The first recorded visit is that of the Rev. Thomas McEvoy, who came in 1840, and said mass in the 
court house at Friendship. He visited the men along the line of the works periodically until he re- 
moved from Java. He said mass at Mr. McCasson's house in 1843, and in the court house in Angelica 
in 1844. The Rev. J. Meyers came from Rochester several times in the following years. 

Greenwood, Steuben County, was the first place in this region to obtain a resident pastor, and 
from there the priest visited the many little hamlets in Allegany County, and about one-half of Steuben 
County. The Rev. T. McEvoy, an energetic apostolic missionary, built the church at Greenwood in 
1845; and was succeeded by the Rev. Michael O'Brien, who remained there until 1848, when he 
removed to Hornellsville. From Hornellsville Father O'Brien came to Angelica once a month, and 
said mass in the court house or in the home of John Crosby. 

Protestants and Catholics contributed toward a church building, which was begun in 1848 ; but 
it was not completed for more than two years. It was dedicated in 1851 by Bishop Timon. John 
Crosby and Timothy Culbert were the first trustees, and among the early prominent members were: 
Patrick Cline, Daniel Sullivan, Edward Howe, P. Keenan, John Haire, James Hunt and Michael 

The Rev. D. Moore succeeded Father O'Brien at Hornellsville in 1851, and remained four years, 
when the Rev. T. Keenan, the Rev. E. McGlue, the Rev. A. McConnell, and the Rev. J. H. Leddy 
followed in succession till 1873, when the Wellsville parish was formed and Angelica was attached 
to Belmont. 


There is no record of Catholic services in Bennington Center earlier than 1847. In that year 
the few scattered families assembled occasionally at the home of Vincent Ganter, on the Allegany 
Road, to attend mass, which was celebrated by a priest from Buffalo. Mass was also said in a farm- 
house, near East Bennington, and later in Danley's Tavern. 


The Redemptorists were the first priests to come, and they organized the congregation and en- 
couraged the people to build a church. Thefirstbaptism was recorded by Father Tshenhens, April 5, 
1848. Father Kubin, C. S. S. R., assisted them to erect a little church, 30 x 40, which was blessed 
by the bishop in 1850. The priest located at Sheldon, Wyoming County, said mass regularly in this 
little church, for nine years, until Bennington became a part of the Alden parish in 1871. 

The Rev. F. X. Kofler came in 1871, and built a church at Bennington Center, about four miles 
distant from the church at Bennington. This church was dedicated October 29, 1872, and soon became 
so important that it was selected as the residence of the pastor. 

Many priests of the diocese labored in the Bennington congregation, from its inception. The 
following are the names of the priests and the periods in which they labored in this church : The Rev. 
P. Tshenhens, C. S. S. R., in 1848; Rev. J. P. Kraemer,1848; Rev. T. G. Schaefer, February, 1849, 
to May, 1849; Rev. P. Kubin, November, 1849, to January, 1850; Rev. S. Gruber, February, 1850, 
to June, 1852; Rev. C. Kuemin, August, 1852, to February, 1854; Rev. A. Rief, August to October, 
1853; Rev. N. P. Neumann, March to June, 1854; Rev. S. Gruber, July, 1854, to July, 1856; Rev. P. 
Seibold, August, 1856, to November, 1857; Rev. S. Eicher, January to May, 1858; Rev. O. Saeger, 
May to September, 1858; Rev. M. Lochert, October, 1858, to February, 1859; Rev. P. Rosenbauer, 
C. S. S. R., in March and April, 1859; Rev. P. Poch, June, 1859, to March, 1860; Rev. M. Schinabeck, 
April, 1860, to October, 1861; Rev. F. Heimbucher, November, 1861, to February, 1862; Rev. P. 
Eriold, C. S. S. R., April to September, 1862; Rev. J. Arent, September, 1862, to June, 1870; Rev. 
C. Wenzieski, September, 1870, to May, 1871; Rev. F. Kofler, August, 1871, to August, 1872; Rev. 
J. Niebling, December, 1872, to March, 1873; Rev. I. Sager, May to November, 1873; Rev. A. 
Adolph, December, 1873, to March, 1876; Rev. J. Hamel, March to September, 1876; Rev. V. Ritter, 
October, 1876, to March, 1877; Rev. G. Gysen, March, 1877, to September, 1879; Rev. J. Schneider, 
September, 1879, to February, 1881; Rev. C. O'Byrne, June and July, 1881; Rev. W. Grill, August, 
1881, to October, 1883; Rev. P. Theis, November, 1883, to August, 1888; Rev. J. Fischer, September, 
1888, to October, 1890; Rev. J. Bubenheim, October, 1890, to May, 1891; Rev. F. Trautlein, May 
to December, 1891; Rev. A. Huber, December, 1891, to January, 1893; Rev. J. Stemmler, January, 
1893, to September, 1896; Rev. C. Kaelin, September, 1896, to November, 1898; Rev. J. Franz, 
November, 1898, to October, 1901; then the present pastor. Rev. L. Bastian. The parish is in a 
flourishing condition though stationary in numbers. 


The first effort to organize a congregation at Bergen was made by Bishop Timon in January 
1851. He visited the little town, and urged the Catholics there to secure a lot for church purposes' 
There is no record, however, of mass having been celebrated there until 1853, when Father Donnelly 
came from Brockport and said mass in the home of Patrick Kirk, on Rochester Street. The site of 
Mr. Kirk's house is now occupied by the Bergen laundry. Father Welch of Scottsville, visited the 
Catholics at Bergen a few times after Father Donnelly's death. Father Donnelly secured an old 
machine shop, on Spring Street, and fitted it up for church purposes. 

The Rev. E. E. McGowan succeeded Father Welch, as the visiting priest of Bergen in 1858. 
Father McGowan resided at Brockport, and came to Bergen every two or three weeks, and said mass 
in the little frame building which served as a church. Father McGowan urged the people to erect a 
new building, and the old church was abandoned and a frame structure was erected on Gibson Street, 
which was dedicated on the 1st of November, 1858. Father McGowan was succeeded by the Rev. 
T. Keenan, who resided at Brockport and attended Bergen until the Rev. R. Storey, the present pastor 
of Brockport, was appointed. Father Storey attended the Bergen Catholics until the diocese of 
Rochester was formed, when Brockport was united with the Rochester diocese. There were several 
other small places which made up the parish of Brockport and Bergen. Chili, Rega, Churchville 
and Byron were also attended by the priest from Brockport. All these places were attached to the 
Rochester diocese at the time of the division, and Bergen alone remained in the diocese of Buffalo. 
For some time after the division, Bergen was attended by the Rev. D. Moore, who resided at Leroy. 
In 1869 Father Vandepoel came regularly from Leroy to attend the Catholics at Bergen, and he con- 
tinued in this office until the fall of 1875, when Bergen was attached to Holley. Holley and Bergen 
then formed one parish, with the Rev. David Lasher as pastor. The Rev. Jas. Lasher succeeded his 


brother David as pastor of Holley in 1876, and he remained until the fall of 1880, when he was suc- 
ceeded by the Rev. P. A. Malloy. Father Malloy erected the third church at Bergen, in 1884. The 
Bergen congregation had grown considerably, and preparations were made for a resident pastor. A 
parochial residence was erected in 1887, and the Rev. J. C. O'Reilly was appointed the first resident 
pastor. Father O'Reilly remained for about one and one-half years, when he was succeeded by the 
Rev. H. Connery. Father Connery was pastor of Bergen until his death, in March, 1891. For the 
next few months several priests looked after the interests of the Bergen congregation. The Rev. J 
Mooney, the Rev. M. Gibbons and the Rev. J. Dealy came in succession until the summer of 1891 
when the Rev. M. J. Kean was appointed pastor of Bergen. In 1895 Father Kean organized St 
Michael's parish at South Byron, and he built a little frame church there, in which he regularly said 
mass for the little congregation. Bergen and South Byron now form one parish, with the resident pastor 
at Bergen. Father Kean remained here until April, 1897, when the Rev. D. J. Ryan, the present 
pastor, was appointed. This little parish is in a flourishing condition, due to the wise management 
of its pastors. 


Bolivar came into prominence at the time of the oil excitement about 1880. The first mass was 
said here in the opera house, and about 1882 steps were taken to organize a congregation for the many 
Catholics who had settled in the town. This place formed an out-mission of Cuba for several years, 
and was attended occasionally by the pastor of the latter place until it was organized into a parish 
with Portville, in 1903. The Rev. T. Carraher bought the property in 1883, and erected a little frame 
building for the accommodation of the few Catholic families residing in the place. Father Carraher 
remained until 1889, when the Rev. J. Griffin was appointed pastor of Cuba, and remained here until 
1896, when the Rev. J. Rogers looked after the interest of the little congregation until January, 1903. 
In January, 1903, the Rev. Henry Dolan was sent to Bolivar, as the first resident pastor, and Bolivar 
with Portville, was formed into a parish. Father Dolan purchased a house and fitted it up as a paro- 
chial residence. He is now collecting funds for a new church, which he hopes to erect at Bolivar in the 
near future. 

Portville has about the same number of families as Bolivar, and the first mass was said here 
in 1879, by the Rev. J. Hamel, in the house of Mr. Shine. Father Hamel afterwards said mass in 
Mohair's Hotel. A little church was erected here in 1886, and was dedicated under the title of the 
Sacred Heart. When the Rev. T. Haire organized the new parish at Olean he also took charge of 
the little mission of Portville, which he attended until he was succeeded by the Rev. J. Mooney. Port- 
ville continued as an out-mission of Olean until January, 1903, when the Rev. Henry Dolan was 
appointed pastor of Bolivar and Portville, and now they form one prosperous little parish. 


The Catholics of the town of Boston held a meeting on March 4, 1869, to discuss the organization 
of a parish. The Rev. F. S. Uhrich, of Hamburg, was present, and he encouraged them in the work 
with the sanction of the Rt. Rev. Bishop. Messers. A. Weber, J. Wurtz and J. Mertz, were elecetd 
trustees, and were empowered to purchase a site and receive contributions. At a meeting four days 
later it was resolved to erect a brick structure. The plan of the building committee was approved, on 
April 17, and Messrs. P. Thillen and L. Fox were appointed additional collectors. 

Work was begun on the building in 1869, but the building was not completed until 1871. During 
these two years the mission was attended twice a month by Father Uhrich from Hamburg. The 
Jesuits from Buffalo looked after the congregation for the next two years, and sanctioned the purchase 
of the cemetery. 

In 1873 the Boston mission was attached to New Oregon, and was attended by the Rev. H. Bach- 
man for two years, and by the Rev. M. Gesner for a similar period. The school was started during 
this period, with Miss Kate Schaus as teacher. 

The Rev. G. Zurcher came in 1877, as the first resident pastor of Boston. He remained only one 
year, when he was succeeded by the Rev. G. Grill, who built the parsonage. During Father Grill's 


pastorate Sardinia (1) was attached to Boston. The Rev. P. Theis succeeded Father Grill in 1881, 
and bought a lot opposite the church for a school site. The Rev. J. Fischer was appointed in Novem- 
ber, 1883, and built a church in Holland, which was attached for some years to the Boston parish. 

After Father Fischer the following pastors served the church in Boston: Rev. A. Geisenhoff, 
March, 1885, to February, 1886; Rev. J. Theis, to September, 1888; Rev. A. Bergman, to July, 1889; 
Rev. P. Jasper, to March, 1890; Fathers Heller and Bubenheim in 1891 ; Rev. M. Krischel, to Novem- 
ber, 1892; Rev. F. Scherer, to March, 1893; Rev. J. Werdein, to October, 1894; Rev. J. Schemel, to 
October, 1897; Rev. M. Kelly, to October, 1898, when the present pastor, the Rev. Geo. Sellinger 
was appointed. The congregation is composed chiefly of farmers of the town of Boston. 


The little church at Cheektowaga owes its origin to the fulfillment of a vow, made in gratitude for 
preservation from death in a perilous sea journey. In October, 1836, Mr. Joseph Batt sailed from 
Havre for America in the ship "Marie." After a few days of calm sailing a hurricane struck the ship, 
and threatened the destruction of all. In this hour of peril, Mr. Batt, who was always devout to the 
Blessed Virgin, made a vow that if they should be saved from shipwreck he would erect a chapel in 
honor of Mary Help of Christians. The ship weathered the storm; Mr. Batt arrived safely in America, 
and three years later he donated two acres of land in Cheektowaga, and built the votive chapel of Our 
Lady Help of Christians. 

The priest came occasionally from Williamsville, and held services in the little chapel for the 
farmers who resided in the neighborhood. The place prospered; and in 1871 the people added a stone 
addition to" the little shrine, so they might have more room for their growing numbers. 

In 1890 there were forty Catholic families in the vicinity, and Bishop Ryan appointed the Rev. 
Joseph Fischer to organize them into a parish. The next year Father Fischer erected the comfortable 
frame parochial residence, and started the new parish on its career of usefulness. 

The Rev. F. X. Sherer was appointed pastor in March, 1893, and he immediately labored to 
raise his school to a higher standard. They had a desultory school there for forty years, in a little 
frame building; and now Father Sherer started a new school and convent for the sisters. Those 
were blessed and ready for opening services in October. 

The parish is now prosperous, and thousands visit the chapel to invoke the intercession of Our 
Lady Help of Christians, or to manifest their gratitude for favors already granted. 


The first Catholic settlers came to Cuba, as they came to many of the other towns and hamlets 
throughout Cattaragus and Allegany counties, attracted by the public works of canal or railroads, or 
by the prospect of the fields of industry that were to be opened by these means of public transportation. 
The nearest priest to this region before 1850 was the pastor of Java; and there is a tradition that Father 
Urquhart, the Dominican who had charge of the Java parish for some months, came to Cuba and said 
mass in one of the little frame dwellings when Catholic laborers were employed here in public works. 
Father Doran and Father Mclvers also came a few times from EUicottville, when the Erie railroad 
was in process of construction. In 1850 an effort was made to organize a congregation, and a little 
frame building was bought by Father Doran and turned into a church. This little frame building 
was not completely furnished for church service; and when Bishop Timon came here in August, 1850, 
he was obliged to build a little altar on which to say mass. On this occasion he gave a short retreat 
to the people, giving them the benefit of a series of instructions, at the close of which he confirmed a 
class of forty-six. Father Walsh and Father McKenna also came occasionally to say mass in this 
little frame house, which served the purpose of a church for the congregation until the Franciscans came 
from Allegany to take charge of the parish. A priest from Rochester, probably the Rev. B. O'Reilly, 
also said mass in this little house. Father McEvoy also came from Java, and Father O'Donoghue 
from Auburn. The little church building was merely a dwelling house which had been converted to 

(1) The Sardinia churcli was started by Father Uhrich in 1869, but was later abandoned for a time. It was 
not favorably located. 


church purposes. Dwelling houses in those days were not very elaborate or extensive, and the little 
frame church of Cuba was a very modest building, yet there was a debt of over $500.00 on the prop- 
erty when the Franciscans took charge, The Franciscans also purchased ground for a cemetery, 
which was consecrated by the Very Rev. Pamphilo de Magliano, O. S. F., with the permission of the 
bishop. The Rev. M. Ryan, Rev. J. O'Mara, Rev. T. Ledwith and the Rev. M. Lee followed one 
another in succession, as pastors of the Cuba congregation after the period of Franciscan rule. 

Father Lee built the present parochial residence during the time of his pastorate (1). The Rev. 
Thos. Carraher came in April, 1879, and had control of the parish for ten years. He built the present 
commodious church, at a cost of about ten thousand dollars. The Rev. James Griffin was appointed 
pastor in March, 1889, and remained six years, when he was succeeded by the Rev. John Rogers. 
Father Rogers had charge of the parish until June, 1895, when he was succeeded by the Rev. Hugh 
Wright, the present pastor. 

Cuba for many years has been almost stationary in population, and it was never sufficiently large 
to constitute a parish capable of fulfilling financially all the obligations of a properly constructed 
parochial organization. 

There were several other small places near Cuba, and at different periods, one or the other of 
these small places was attached to Cuba as a mission which was attended regularly by the resident 
priest of this place. Friendship was attended many years from Allegany College, but it was a small 
and unimportant mission, and they only had services at Christmas and Easter. Mass was generally 
said in the house of Michael Clark. During the pastorate of Father Ryan, Friendship was attached 
to the Cuba parish, and formed with it for several years one congregation. During Father O'Mara's 
pastorate, Friendsliip was attached to the Belmont mission for a few years. During Father Lee's 
time it was again annexed to Cuba. Father Lee built the present little church at Friendship, at a cost 
of $2,400.00, about the year 1880. A few years later it was again attached to the Belmont mission 
and Bolivar and some of the surrounding hamlets were added to the Cuba parish. Friendship and 
Cuba now form practically one parish. They are about equal in size and importance; and although 
not very large or containing many souls, yet on account of the territory embraced they give the pastor 
an opportunity of exercising his zeal, and they afford him an insight into the old time missionary labors. 
The Rev. H. Wright is the present pastor, and he finds in this extensive field abundant employment 
for his active zeal. 


A new city sprang into existence in 1895, near Lancaster. The New York Central Railroad and 
the West Shore Railroad transferred their shops to a place which was named Depew, in honor of the 
president of the New York Central, in 1895 ; and these works brought a great number of men to the 
new town which was named in honor of the president of the New York Central. Next year the Rev. 
J. J. Deally was sent to Depew to organize a congregation and build a church for the Catholics of 
that place. He erected a magnificent brick church building, and a handsome residence of the same 
material, adjoining the church. The town, however, did not grow as rapidly as first impressions 
promised, and the handsome church property was heavily burdened with debt. Father Deally remained 
here until the spring of 1902, when he was succeeded by Rev. C. Killeen. Father Killeen was an 
energetic worker and a good business manager. He is meeting his obligations now under adverse 
conditions, and with certainty of further growth, he will make St. James' Church in Depew one of 
the prosperous churches of the diocese of Buffalo. 


Dunkirk was incorporated as a village in 1859; but there were no Catholic inhabitants until 
about ten years later. In the early forties two or three Catholic families settled in the neighborhood 
of Dunkirk. The Rev. Thomas McEvoy was the first priest to visit them, and he probably said mass 
in one of the Catholic farmer's homes at Pomfret. 

(1) The parochial residence was burned and with it the records of the parish were destroyed, and the exact 
data and minute details of the parish history are not obtainable. 


Bishop Timon visited Dunkirk in 1848, and he remarked that he never knew a place where the 
devil made such headway. At that time there was no place for him to hold Divine service, and he 
proceeded to Fredonia, where he said mass in the home of a Catholic family. 

The building of the railroad and the prospects of the lake trade brought many of the early Catholic 
settlers to Dunkirk. Father Carraher came in the fall of 1850, and remained some weeks; then Father 
Lemmon came and purchased property on the corner of Second and Robins streets, on which there 
were two old frame buildings, and he converted the larger one into a chapel. The Rev. Fathers 
Fitzsimmons and Mallon also attended Dunkirk a few times before the advent of Father Colgan. 

The Rev. Peter Colgan was appointed pastor in April, 1851, and he immediately enlarged the 
little frame building to suit the wants of his growing congregation. In August, 1851, he purchased 
the site of the present cemetery, which was consecrated by Bishop Timon in the following year. 

Father Colgan purchased the present site of St. Mary's Church, and began its erection in 1852, 
though the corner-stone was not laid until July 24, 1853. The Holy Sacrifice was offered for the first 
time on the feast of St. Patrick, 1854. The church was solemnly dedicated on November 12, 1854, 
by the Rt. Rev. Joshue Young, bishop of Erie. 

The original cost of construction was about $9,000. The first Passionist rector of St. Mary's 
was the Rev. Fr. Albinus, who took charge in 1860. Bishop Timon laid the comer-stone of the Monas- 
tery adjoining the church in 1861. This was the second Monastery built by the Passionists in this 
country. Fr. Albinus, Fr. Anthony, and Father Stanislaus and Brother Lawrence were the pioneers 
of the Passionist order in America, founding the first Monastery at Pittsburg in 1853. Other founda- 
tions of the order now exist in West Hoboken, Baltimore, Cincinnati, Louisville, St. Louis, St. Paul, 
Kansas and Scranton, Pa. 

In 1873 St. Mary's Church was remodeled and assumed its present form. For this purpose 
Father Basil made an outlay of $16,000. The Rt. Rev. Stephen Ryan re-dedicated the church in the 
same year. 

Columbus Hall was completed during the administration of Rev. Fr. Guido. It cost $25,000. 
Until the year 1903 the first floor was used for the parochial school. In that year improvements were 
begun vsdth the view of devoting the entire building to school purposes. 

The following have been rectors of St. Mary's congregation during the past forty years: Very 
Rev. Fr. John Baudinelli; Fathers Guido Matassi, Martin Meagher, Basil Keating, Alphonsus 
Rossiter, Stephen Kealy, Felix Ward, Albert Phelan and Mark Moslein, all of the Passionist Order. 

Here also is the preparatory college exclusively for young men desiring to affiliate themselves 
to the order. 

A school for the Catholic children of Dunkirk was established in 1854, and still continues the 
good work begun half a century ago. A Lyceum was established in 1891, by enterprising Catholics 
of this parish as a club room for men, and it has become a literary and social center for the Catholics 
of Dunkirk. 


The German Catholics of Dunkirk attended St. Mary's Church until they had grown sufficiently 
in numbers to require the services of a priest of their own nationality. The parish was organized in 
1857, and the following year a little church was built under the direction of the Rev. D. Geimer, who 
came occasionally to say mass for the congregation in their little frame church building. Father 
Geimer came during 1858 and 1859, when the Rev. J. N. Arent succeeded liim in his own parish, 
and came occasionally to say mass for the little congregation at Dunkirk. The Rev. A. Pfeifer, a 
Franciscan, came a few times in 1861 and 1862. The parish was then handed over to the Passionists, 
who had charge of the little congregation from 1863 to 1874. A school was started here in 1865, by 
the Passionist Fathers, and was taught for some time by a lay member of the congregation until 1873, 
when the Sisters of St. Joseph assumed charge of the school. 

The first resident pastor of the parish came in 1874 in the person of the Rev. F. Kolb. Father 
Kolb soon began the erection of a larger and more substantial church building. He began the building 
in 1876, and it was completed and dedicated on the 18th of November of the year following. Father 
Kolb remained here ten years, when he was succeeded by the Rev. A. Frey. Father Frey built a 
parochial residence and also the present school building. Father Frey remained here until 1891, when 


he was succeeded by the Rev. F. N. Sester, who continued here until his death in 1896. The present 
pastor, the Rev. Jos. N. Theis, was appointed shortly after Father Sester's death, and he still continues 
to direct the affairs of this prosperous parish. There is no debt on the church property at present, 
and all the buildings are in good condition and well fitted for the use for which they were designed. 


A considerable number of Polish Catholics settled in Dunkirk about the years 1874 and 1875. 
There was at this time one Polish parish in the diocese, — St. Stanislaus at Buffalo, — and the number 
of Catholics of this nationality at Dunkirk warranted the formation of another parish in the latter 
city. The Rev. Chas. Lane, O. S. B., was commissioned by the bishop to organize a new congregation. 
He erected a little building in that year, which served as a church for the people of his parish. Father 
Lane, O. S.B., remained until 1879, when he was succeeded by the Rev. E. Bratkiewicz, who remained one 
year, when he was succeeded by the Rev. J. Schneider. Father Schneider only remained a few months 
when he was succeeded by the Rev. Father Klawiter. Father Klawiter built the parochial residence, 
and also remodeled the church building to accommodate the largely increased number of his parishion- 
ers. Father Klawiter remained until 1884, when he was succeeded by the Rev. W. Lebiecki. Father 
Lebiecki remained a short time, when he was succeeded by the Rev. Frank Ciszek. Father Ciszek 
remained two years and was succeeded by the Rev. W. Zareczny. Father Zareczny only remained 
one year when he was succeeded by the Rev. P. Pawlar. Father Pawlar remained two years, and 
Father Klawiter again came as pastor for one year. The Rev. A. Sulek came in June, 1891, for one 
year, and the Rev. A. Lex was appointed pastor and remained until 1896, when the present pastor, 
the Rev. B. Swinko, was appointed. Father Lex erected a handsome school building in 1893. Father 
Swinko converted the old rectory into a convent for the Sisters, and built a new parochial residence on a 
large lot adjoining the church property, which he purchased for $9,500.00. Father Swinko also bought 
fifteen acres of land on the lake road, which he had blessed for cemetery purposes, by Bishop Quigley 
in 1902. 

This parish is provided with all the necessary buildings and is in a prosperous condition, with a 
fine school and but little debt. 


A new Polish parish has recently been organized in Dunkirk, with the Rev. T. Stabeneau as pastor. 


Catholics settled in this portion of Wyoming County as early as their neighbors at Java Centre, 
but they were not sufficiently numerous to form a congregation until 1846. In this year a little church 
was built on land donated by Mr. Herman Wilson. There were about thirty Catholic families here 
then, and they were attended by the priest from Java until Father Flynn came in 1848, as the first 
resident pastor. 

The priests who followed Father Flynn were: Rev. F. Miller, Rev. L. Steger, Rev. J. Fitz- 
patrick, Rev. F. Cook, Rev. J. O'Reilly, Rev. E. McShane, Rev. D. O'Brien, Rev. J. Garen. The 
Rev. E. McShane built a new parochial residence, and the Rev. D. O'Brien erected a new church. 

The early Catholic settlers were: Ed. Noles, Wm. Hutchinson, D. Casey, L. McGuire, E. Sulli- 
van, A. Lenox, T. McLaughlin, B. Sullivan, J. Bennett, J. Burns, F. Gillespie and D. Roach. Many 
of the descendants of these pioneers still cultivate the farms that were cleared by their forefathers, 
and have followed in the footsteps of their ancestors in their faithful practice of religious duties. 


This little place never arose to the dignity of a parish, though for a time it had a resident priest. 
In 1849 there were about ten Catholic families in the town, and those assembled once a month in the 
home of Thomas Flanigan, on the present Bove Place, or at the home of John Devins, towards East 


Aurora, where the Rev. Thomas McEvoy, of Java, said mass for them. The priest did not come 
regularly. The people could wait to have their children baptized (1), but in case of marriages or 
funerals the parties interested secured a priest whereever possible. 

Father Doran broke ground for the first church in 1853. It was a poorly constructed frame 
building, without pews. The Rev. James Early came in 1851, and made his home with Mr. Flanigan. 
He rebuilt the church. He was succeeded by the Rev. J. V. O Donohue, who built a rectory, and 
established a school in the church, which was taught by Catherine Ryan. 

The Rev. D. English came in 1858, and remained until 1861, when the Rev. Thomas Hines, from 
Limestone Hill, came on Sundays to say mass in the little church. The Rev. John Tuohy dwelt here 
one year, in 1864, and the Rev. F. Cook spent the summer of 1865 in the mission. 

Father Miller, C. S. S. R., of St. Mary's, Buffalo, dwelt at East Aurora from Christmas till Easter, 
1864, boarding at Mr. Marshall's on Pine Street, and saying mass in the hall of the Regulator building. 

From 1869 to 1875 the Revs. J. V. O'Donohue, T. Hines, T. Ledworth, E. Quigley, M. Byrne, 
P. V. O'Brien and D. F. Lasher, attended the mission in rapid succession. The Rev. B. B. Grattan 
came in 1876, and started a church building at East Aurora, but before the building was completed a 
wind storm demolished the structure and the project was abandoned. Rev. F. McNearny followed 
Father Grattan in 1882 for a few months, then Rev. D. M. Reilly came. Father Reilly said mass in 
the school house on Olean Street. The corner-stone of the church on Oakwood Avenue was laid 
November 19, 1882, by Bishop Ryan. 

In 1890 Father Lafferty succeeded Father Reilly. The Rev. J. Brady came in 1891, and was 
followed the next year by the Rev. James C. Cain. 


About 1886 the Catholics at Holland desired a church, and Richard Shea, George Cottrel, Jr., 
collected funds, and a little frame building was erected under the supervision of Father Uhrich of 
Springville. Father Uhrich was the first to hold services here. He came once a month; and was 
succeeded by Fathers Fisher, Geisenhoff, Thies, Krischel, Sherer and Jasper, from Boston. In 1865 
Sardinia was formed and attended from Springbrook, and later by the Rev. James Lanigan from 

The Rev. G. Gysen, of Strykersville, and Rev. A. Adolph, of Boston, also attended the Holland 
mission until it was finally united with the East Aurora parish in 1894. The pastor resided at East 
Aurora, on Paine Street, in the house purchased from Mr. Myers. 

Father Cain died suddenly, June 9, 1895, and was succeeded by the Rev. E. J. Rengel. Father 
Rengel collected much money in the following four years ; improved the house and church, and paid 
off the debt on all the missions. In June, 1900, the Rev. J. J. Gilhooley came for a few months when 
the parish was attended by the Rev. T. Walsh, of Buffalo, until the appointment of Rev. James H. 
Quested, April 20, 1901. Father Quested bought a lot near the church, and built a new parochial 
residence; and he also enlarged the church to accommodate his growing congregation, and fitted up 
the basement of the church as a hall for the societies of the parish. 


The district around East Eden received its quota of toilers who came to Erie County about the 
year 1830-32, in search of fertile farms on which they wished to establish their homes. Many of these 
were faithful Catholics; and among their first desires were the church and school. 

The Rev. J. A. Mertz was the first priest to visit this region. He came from Buffalo a few times, 
and said mass in the homes of the Catholic settlers, or in the school house (2). The Rev. A. Pax, who 
assisted Father Mertz in Buffalo, also visited the people of Eden a few times, and said mass for them. 

(1) Mrs. Van Antwerp, nee McGivem, furnishes this information. 

(2) It is related that on one occasion when Father Mertz was to say mass on a table in the school house a Protes- 
tant sent his son to carry off the table. The young man obeyed his father's orders; but he was stricken shortly after 
by a malady. This was considered a judgment of God, by the people of Eden. 



The people were delighted with the prospect of a priest's visit, and they erected a little church in which 
he might hold services. The land was donated by Michael Enser in 1833, and the church was soon 
after built by the Catholics of the neighborhood. 

Father Mertz was old and worn out with toil when Father Pax relieved him at Buffalo, and he 
went to Europe for a rest. When he returned he retired to East Eden, where the work was less burden- 
some. He bought fifteen acres of land. A school had been started in a private house, in 1836, and 
Father Mertz erected a new school building, which served the parish for nearly forty years. When 
Father Mertz organized the parish it comprised all the territory of the present Hamburg, Collins, 
Boston and Lanford congregations. 

The Rev. N. Arent looked after the spiritual interests of this region from 1849 to 1859; and he 
saw the necessity of a better church. He erected the present brick church; and he also bought a little 
frame Protestant meeting house at Hamburg, for the use of the Catholics who were at that time at- 
tached to the Eden parish. 

The following priests succeeded Father Arent: Rev. P. Helmbucher, 1860-61; Rev. F. Gerber, 
1861-62; Rev. G. Pax, 1862-68; Rev. B. Gruber, February to May, 1868; Rev. L. Neumayer, May 
1868, to December, 1875; Rev. W. Rizewski, to July, 1876; Rev. M. Winands, to July, 1881; Rev. 
J. Fenger, 1881-86; Rev. A. Geyer, 1886-88; Rev. C. Koelin, 1888-89; Rev. G. Gysen, May to Octo- 
ber, 1889; Rev. J. Schaus, October, 1889, to November, 1890; Rev. J. Hummel, 1890-94; Rev. J. 
Schemmel, 1894-98; Rev. C. Koelin, November, 1898, to present time. 

During these pastorates many improvements were made in church and school. The missions 
of Hamburg, Langford and New Oregon, were attended from East Eden for many years. In 1886 
Father Gruber erected the present parochial residence, and it was later enlarged by Father Hummel. 

The Sisters of St. Francis came in 1862 to conduct the school, and four years later they built a 
convent, on land purchased from Joseph Enser. This house soon became a preparatory school and 
novitiate for their order. 

The cemetery was blessed by Bishop Hughes. The first church was blessed under the double 
title of Assumption of the Blessed Virgin and St. Michael; the present church was dedicated to the 
Blessed Virgin, under the title of the Immaculate Conception. Considerable change has been taking 
place in the population during the last ten years ; Poles and Italians have purchased farms, and are 
gradually displacing the old German settlers. 


The Catholics who lived in East Pembroke, previous to 1868, attended mass occasionally at 
Batavia. In the above year the Rev. Thomas Cunningham, who was then pastor of the Batavia 
Church, purchased the Baptist church, and moved it onto a lot which was donated by John Mullane. 
Services were held here for about a quarter of a century. 

The Rev. Henry Connery came to East Pembroke in 1883, as the first resident pastor. Father 
Connery's territory was very extensive, including Alabama, where he erected a little church building, 
and the little mission at Crittenden. The Rev. J. J. Galligan succeeded Father Connery in 1885, and 
resided here until 1889. 

The Rev. Thomas Barrett was appointed pastor in 1889, and shortly afterwards he purchased 
a lot near the parochial residence, and erected a handsome little frame church building on this property. 
The Rev. F. Burns succeeded Father Barrett in 1897, and he built a little church at Corfu, which also 
became an out-mission of the Pembroke parish. The church at Crittenden was burned in Father 
Burns' time, but he soon had another church erected and ready for services. The Rev. E. Rengel 
succeeded Father Burns in 1900, and remained a few months when the Rev. M. J. Kelly was appointed. 
Father Kelly only remained eight months, when he was succeeded by the present pastor, the Rev. 
Robert Walsh, in February, 1902. This was a difficult mission for a priest, but it is now in a fairly 
prosperous condition. 


Mr. John C. Devereaux and his brother Nicholas bought many thousands of acres of land in 
Cattaragus County, near EUicottville, and they hoped to establish here a colony of Irish Catholics. 
Land was cheap and the soil was fertile; and the Devereauxs were good and faithful Catholics, and 


they would provide all the spiritual care for the needs of their Catholic colonists. There were a few 
Catholics in this region before 1850, and the Rev. T. McEvoy, who had done missionary labor in all 
the little settlements of Western New York, came here and said mass in the old Mansion House for 
the few Catholics of the vicinity. He came also about six months later, and said mass in the land 
office of J. C. Devereaux. Mr. Nicholas Devereaux bought a two-story frame building, which had 
been used as a school, and remodeled it for a church in which the Catholics might hold services until 
such times as they would be able to erect a building, which would be dedicated to the worship of God. 
In this little building the Catholics assisted at mass whenever any priest visited them until they had 
a pastor of their own. Besides Father McEvoy, Father Fitzsimmons and Father Mclvers also came 
occasionally to say mass for the Catholics in EUicottville. 

The Rev. John Doran resided here for a short time in 1850; and from EUicottville he attended all 
the vast territory in the southwestern part of the diocese, comprising the counties of Cattaragus, Chau- 
tauqua and Allegany. He made occasional visits to Cuba, Hinsdale, Olean, Binton, Great Valley and 
Little Valley, Randolph and Springville. There was a German settlement at Ashford, and some Irish 
and Germans near EUicottville, and a few scattered families in the numerous little settlements through- 
out the vast extent of these three counties. It was a great task for a priest to attempt to look after the 
spiritual welfare of people scattered over such an extent of territory. In many cases the roads were 
no better than log roadways through the woods, and it was not an easy matter to journey many miles 
in this uncomfortable manner. Catechism classes were formed in nearly all the settlement in which 
there were Catholic families, and some of the young people were expected to teach the Catholic children 
the principles of their religion, and to prepare them for their first communion. 

Mr. Devereaux was very anxious to provide for the spiritual wants of the Catholics of this region; 
and in 1855 he secured a colony of Franciscans from Rome, who came in June of that year and estab- 
lished their residence at EUicottville. The advent of the Franciscan Colony was a great blessing to 
the Catholics of all that territory. There were several Fathers in this colony; and, animated with the 
missionary zeal of their order, they soon began to provide for the spiritual needs of the Catholics 
in most of the towns and settlements throughout the counties of Allegany, Chautauqua and 

When the Franciscans removed to Allegany in June, 1859, the Rev. Dr. Barker took their place 
at EUicottville as pastor of the parish. Priests were changed very frequently in those days, and there 
was a long list of priests who were pastors of EUicottville from Dr. Barker's time up to the time when 
Bishop Ryan ruled over the diocese of Buffalo. Bishop Timon made a visit to EUicottville shortly 
after his arrival at Buffalo. He came on the 20th of September, 1848, and said mass in the school 
house, and administered the sacrament of Confirmation to six persons. The next morning he said 
mass in the office of Mr. Devereaux, and confirmed two more persons. He thoroughly understood the 
difficulty of looking after the many scattered families of Catholics in that territory, and this may be 
the secret of his policy in so frequently changing the pastors of EUicottville. The work was too difiicult 
for long continued services, and in rapid succession Bishop Timon appointed pastors of EUicottville. 
After Dr. Barker came the Rev. P. Bradley, for some months in the year 1861 ; the Rev. John Tuohey, 
from 1861 to 1863; Father Lebreton, from 1863, to January, 1865; the Rev. P. Glennon for a few 
months in 1865, and the Rev. Jas. Leddy, from 1865 to October, 1867, and the Rev. Jas. Rogers, to 
January, 1871. Then came the Rev. Jas. Brady from January, 1871, to May, 1878, and the Rev. M. 
Ryan for six months, when the Rev. P. Kinsella came in December, 1878. 

Father Kinsella remained at EUicottville for eleven years, and during this period he established 
the parish of EUicottville on a good financial basis. Two years after he came he built a church, which 
is a very creditable building for a country parish. Father Kinsella was succeeded, in 1889, by the Rev. 
Arthur Barlow. Father Barlow saw the necessity of erecting a parochial residence, in keeping with 
the style and grandeur of the church building. He erected a commodious parochial residence, which 
is the home of the present pastor. Father Barlow was succeeded by the Rev. J. D. Biden in 1893. 
Father Biden remained two years, and he was succeeded by the Rev. T. Carraher who remained until 
1903, and he was succeeded by the present pastor, the Rev. E. J. Duffy. 

EUicottville is one of the oldest and most prosperous country parishes in the diocese, and all the 
pastors mentioned made improvements which added to the attractiveness and usefulness of the church 
property of this prosperous parish. 


ST. Joseph's church, fredonia. 

Fredonia is one of the younger Catholic congregations in the diocese. Catholics did not settle 
here in any numbers until near the close of Bishop Ryan's episcopate. There was no settlement in 
Western New York that had not been visited at some period by Bishop Timon, during his reign over 
the diocese of Buffalo. He visited every settlement, whether he knew there were Catholics there or 
not; and he held services for them, or he preached to Protestants when there were few or no Catholics 
present. He visited Fredonia on the I9th of February, 1851; and he preached for two hours before a 
large crowd, said mass the next morning and baptized some converts. There were only two Catholic 
families in the vicinity at that time. He said mass in the home of a family named Wurtz,near the town. 

The few Catholics who settled in Fredonia attended mass in the neighboring town of Dunkirk up 
to the year 1889, when steps were taken to organize a congregation in the town, with a resident pastor. 
The Rev. Thomas Clark was appointed by Father Connery, who was then administrator of the diocese, 
in September, 1889, to form the Catholics of Fredonia and vicinity into a parish. He said the first 
mass here in the Maccabees Hall, on the 24th of September. Mass had been celebrated in June of the 
same year, by the Passionist Fathers from Dunkirk. Father Clark rented the Women's Christian 
Temperance Hall which he fitted up for services ; and here he said mass for the little congregation until 
the new church which was established under the patronage of St. Joseph, was ready for services. Father 
Clark bought a handsome property on the main street of the town, on which there was a beautiful 
residence, with land sufficient for church buildings. The residence was used as the priest's house; 
and the pastor soon had under way a beautiful little brick structure, which was dedicated on the 9th 
of September, 1900. Father Clark has displayed good judgment and business management in the 
affairs of the parish, and in a few years he has built up a respectable church property, leaving com- 
paratively little debt upon the little congregation. This congregation is made up of English speaking 
people and Italians. The Italians have settled in large numbers in the region about Fredonia, where 
they engage in the industry they learned in their native land. The soil around Fredonia is well adapted 
for grape raising, and this is a business in which many of the Italians were engaged in their native 
land, and which they learned from their forefathers. They raised grapes and made wines from genera- 
tion to generation. Father Clark knows Italian well, and he is making good Catholics and faithful 
church-goers out of the prosperous Italians, who are monopolizing the grape industry of the district 
around Fredonia. 


The territory around what is now called Gardenville was settled about the year 1840, by a German 
Communistic Sect. They located along the banks of Buffalo Creek, and gave the name of Ebenezer 
to that region. They leased about one thousand acres of land, and dwelt there until 1860, when they 
removed to Iowa. 

After their departure German farmers located on the fertile lands formerly occupied by that 
community, and they established a little settlement in what was called Middle Ebenezer. Many of 
these farmers were Catholics, and they went on Sundays to the churches in Buffalo or Lancaster. 
In March, 1864, some of these Catholic settlers, following the advice of Rev. Francis Sester, purchased 
an old meeting house, which had done service for the Communistic Sect, along with two lots; and they 
organized the parish of Gardenville. Bishop Timon appointed the Rev. D. M. Winands as pastor of 
the new parish. Father Winands celebrated the first mass in the old meeting house on the 2d of 
October, 1864. Bishop Timon blessed the little church on the 6th -day of January, of the following 
year. Father Winands also bought a parochial residence and eight and one-half acres of land. The 
church was dedicated under the title of the Fourteen Holy Helpers. Later a large oil painting, repre- 
senting these fourteen saints, who were called the Holy Helpers, was placed above the high altar and 
was blessed by the Rev. Wm. Gleason, Vicar-General of the diocese. Father Winands remained 
until March, 1867, when the Rev. Chrysostom O. Wagner was appointed. Father Wagner erected 
a little school building. He was succeeded in 1872 by the Rev. John N. Arent. Father Arent remained 
only a short time, and he was succeeded by the Rev. Chas. Geppert. During Father Geppert's pas- 
torate a new and beautiful brick building was erected. The corner-stone was laid August 26th, 1883, 
by Bishop Ryan, and the church was dedicated on the 5th of October, of the year following. Father 
Geppert died here on the 26th of February, 1885. He was succeeded by the Rev. F. X. Fromholzer, 


who completed the church. Mrs. Goetz donated the beautiful main altar. She also paid for the 
frescoing, for the bells, and for the organ. Father Fromholzer died March 4th, 1893, and was succeeded 
by the Rev. F. X. Kofler, who only remained a short time when the present pastor, the Rev. Jos. Hum- 
mel, was appointed. 

For many years Gardenville has been one of the most frequented places of pilgrimage in the coun- 
try. The devotion to the Fourteen Holy Helpers is very ancient. People in Germany practiced this 
devotion as early as the fifteenth century. The church at Langheim had devotions in honor of the 
Fourteen Holy Helpers before the art of printing was invented. There was an ancient missal in the 
church at Langheim, in which was a mass written in honor of these Fourteen Holy Helpers. Later 
the saints, who were known as the Fourteen Holy Helpers, received separate oflSces in the calendar. 
The names of these Fourteen Holy Helpers are : St. George, St. Blasius, St. Erasmus, St. Pantaleon, 
St. Vitas, St. Christopher, St. Dennis, St. Cyriacus, St. Acatius, St. Eustace, St. Giles, St. Margaret, 
St. Catherine and St. Barbara. The devotion to many of these saints is practiced in every country 
of the world. The location of Gardenville makes this church a favorite place of pilgrimage to the 
many thousands of devout Catholics in Buffalo. 


This little parish comprises several missions: Cattaraugus, Dayton and North Collins, form, with 
Gowanda, one parish. The earliest organized mission in this little parish was St. Paul's Church at 
Dayton, which was established by the Passionists in 1863. There were about fifty members in the 
congregation at that time, and a little church was built in 1864. The Rev. C. Geppert came here 
about 1876, as the first resident pastor. 

Gowanda is the most prosperous town of this mission, and the residence of the pastor was estab- 
lished here a few years ago. The present pastor is the Rev. P. Enright, who is now preparing to 
erect a handsome church building in Gowanda, the principal mission of this parish. 

ST. Peter's and st. paul's church, Hamburg. 

Many of the early German settlers in Erie County established their homes in the vicinity of White's 
Corners, or Hamburg; and as early as 1830 there was a good-sized German Catholic community in 
this district. In one of his occasional pastoral visits to the scattered hamlets near Buffalo, the saintly 
Father Mertz, of St. Louis' Church, found a sufficient number of Catholics at Hamburg to warrant 
an occasional visit and mass for the number of people who lived in that neighborhood. Some of the 
early settlers were: B. Friedmann, J. Friedmann, S. G. Burnhardt, F. Huber, E. Sauer, M. Conrad, 
M. Schmidt and T. Cassiday. There were about twenty-two families, or grown people, altogether at 
this period; but they were too few to claim anything more than an occasional visit from the priest, and 
possibly a mass in one of their homes. The Rev. Rudolph Folenius also visited the people of this 
section a few times after the death of Father Mertz. 

In 1845 the number of Catholics had increased to such an extent that they considered themselves 
sufficiently strong to form a congregation, and establish a place which would be especially dedicated 
to the service of God. On the 11th of June, of this year, they bought a small meeting house from a 
Protestant sect, known as the Thilerites and this little frame building, which cost $650.00, was fitted 
up for Catholic worship. The little church was dedicated on the 24th of September, by Father Guth. 
who was then rector of St. Louis' Church, in Buffalo. Father Folenius sang the solemn high mass, and 
sermons were delivered in English by Father Guth, and in German by Father Kraemer. The organi- 
zation of the parish seemed to have a beneficial effect, and attracted Catholics to the neighborhood ; for 
in 1847 there were nearly one hundred families in that district, besides several single persons, who 
formed the congregation and earnestly worked to secure a resident pastor. In the fall of this year 
Buffalo was formed into a diocese, and the people of Hamburg immediately appealed to the new 
bishop to send them a resident pastor. There were not German priests enough in the diocese at that 
time to supply the already established congregations, and the bishop could not comply with the request 
of the Hamburg congregation; but he commissioned the Redemptorists, of St. Mary's Church at Buffalo 
to look after the interests of this parish. From the fall of 1848 they came every second Sunday, and 


held services in the little frame building which was fitted up for Catholic service. A few months later 
Bishop Timon complied with their request, which had been often repeated, and he sent them as their 
first resident pastor the Rev. John P. Kraemer. The new congregation evidently thought that they 
were of great importance, and they drew up a long set of rules and regulations for the government of 
the parish and for the guidance of the pastor, in order, as they expressed it, to keep up future harmony. 
The resolutions were very lengthy, and formed four folio pages of manuscript; and these resolutions 
were evidently more an expression of their wishes than a determination of their will, because the har- 
mony they proposed to foster by them did not last a whole year. Father Kraemer left Hamburg 
about one year after his advent. The long series of resolutions were apparently too heavy a weight 
to carry. 

The Rev. John N. Arent was assigned to Hamburg by Bishop Timon, in February, 1850, as its 
second pastor. Father Arent labored here for seven years, and his kindly nature and polished manners 
succeeded in preserving harmony where the pompous resolutions of the trustees had failed. He was 
beloved in life by the people of Hamburg, and he was generally mourned by them in death. Besides 
Hamburg, Father Arent attended East Eden, Collins and New Oregon. As this extensive mission 
entailed much labor he was assisted sometimes by the Rev. F. X. Krautbauer, who afterwards became 
Bishop of Green Bay. After Father Arent's administration there were three pastors for short periods, 
and in rapid succession: The Rev. J. J. Zawistowski, from May, 1857, to September, 1857; the 
Rev. D. Geimer, from September, 1857, to June, 1859, and the Rev. S. Eicher, from June, 1859, to 
March, 1860. Father Heimbucher came in 1860, and, as the congregation had outgrown the little 
church, at a meeting they resolved to build a larger and more costly church, and this they decided 
would be of brick instead of frame material. Father Heimbucher remained until November, 1861, 
and he was succeeded by Father Gruber, who, however, only remained a few months. Then the 
Rev. George Pax came and he remained about six months, and the congregation was left without a 
resident pastor. The Redemptorists from St. Mary's Church, Buffalo, again took charge of the con- 
gregation in August, 1862, for a few weeks until the Rev. George Pax was again sent by the bishop 
as pastor of the congregation. Father Pax urged on the work of constructing the new church, whilst 
services were still held in the old building. The church was dedicated on the 29th day of June, 1863, 
the feast of the Holy Apostles Sts. Peter and Paul, who were also the titular saints of the parish. The 
church was dedicated by the Rev. Father Glaessens, the rector of St. Mary's Church, Buffalo. The 
mass was celebrated by the pastor, the Rev. George Pax, assisted by Father Glaessens as deacon, and 
the Rev. Father Hines as sub-deacon. The bishop came this year and gave confirmation, and also 
blessed their two bells for the new church. 

Father Pax was succeeded in November, 1864, by the Rev. John Soemer. Father Soemer pur- 
chased three acres of land adjoining the church property from Dr. Smith, on which there was a frame 
house, which was converted into a parsonage. Father Soemer only remained a few months when he 
was succeeded by the Rev. John Payer. Father Payer only remained two months when Hamburg 
was again left without a resident pastor. The Rev. S. Uhrich was appointed pastor in November, 
1865, and he remained here, laboring earnestly for the interest of the congregation until May, 1869, 
when the Rev. S. Gruber was appointed pastor. Father Gruber remained until September, 1871, 
when he was succeeded by the Rev. F. Von Ruepplin. After a pastorate of two weeks Father Von 
Ruepplin resigned, and the parish was again without a pastor. 

On the 27th of October, 1872, the Rev. V. Scheffels was appointed pastor; and the history of the 
parish is intimately connected with his name and personality at the present day. Father Scheffels 
immediately began to beautify the church and to improve the school. The parochial school had been 
established in a little frame building some years previous, but it was entirely inadequate to the needs 
of the parish. One lay teacher constituted the entire faculty of this little school since its organization. 
Under the direction of Father Scheffels, the people resolved to erect a larger and more commodious 
school building. The building was erected in harmony with the church and of the same material, 
and, as soon as it was ready for occupancy, Father Scheffels secured sisters from the Third Order of 
St. Francis to take charge of the school. The sisters came on the 27th day of August, 1874, and they 
have continued their good work there to the present day. 

Before Father Scheffels' time the land immediately adjoining the church was used as a burial 
ground. In 1875 Father Scheffels bought four acres of land for a cemetery, and blessed it for this 
special purpose. Father Scheffels was succeeded in October, 1876, by the Rev. I. Sager. Father 
Sager remained for about seven years, and looked after the interests of the congregation faithfully; and 


utilized his spare time in writing for the German CathoHc papers. After Father Sager the Rev. W. 
Riszewski was pastor for one year. In April, 1884, the Rev. C. Wagner was in charge of the parish 
for a few months, and the Rev .A. Adolph was appointed. Father Adolph came in August, 1884, and 
built a new parochial residence, and made some other improvements in the cemetery and church. 
Father Scheffels came again in October, 1889, and after two years of labor he was appointed to the 
irremovable rectorship of Lancaster, and he was succeeded at Hamburg by the Rev. A. Frey. Father 
Frey's work was the building of a convent for the sisters. This was a frame building adjoining the 
school, and it was completed in the summer of 1892. He also remodeled the church in the year 1899, 
and entirely renovated the interior. Father Frey's health failed at the end of this work; and he retired 
from the pastorate of Hamburg and was succeeded by the Rev. V. Scheffels, who was attracted by 
the beautiful locality and the kindly people of the parish, and for some time anxiously turned his thoughts 
from the more important parish at Lancaster to his little congregation at St. Peter's and St. Paul'.? 
Church of Hamburg. 


The history of Catholicism in this little town dates from the year 1850. Priests occasionally 
visited the place from Brockport for some years, and said mass for the few families of the place in the 
little stone school house, which still stands on the corner of Main and Albion streets. Sometimes 
services were also held in the home of Mr. Fenton Whalen. Mr. Whalen's residence was a short 
distance east of Bull's grist mill, on the south side of the Holley Road. A great many strangers were 
attracted to Holley in the year 1855 by the extensive improvements being made on the Erie Canal. 
There were a great many Catholics among those strangers; and Father McGowan, who was then pastor 
at Brockport, purchased from John Connery a cottage situated on land which is now the site of St. 
Mary's Church, on the corner of Canal and Albion streets. Father McGowan fitted up the cottage 
as a house of worship and used it for the services of the Church. 

In 1865 the Rev. J. L. Castaldi, who was then pastor at Albion, took charge of this mission, and 
sold the little cottage; and began the ei'ection of the present little frame building, which is known as 
St. Mary's Church of Holley. 

In 1870 land for the cemetery was also purchased. Previous to the purchase of this cemetery 
burials were made either in the Catholic cemetery at Brockport or at Albion. After Father Castaldi's 
death, in 1875, Holley and Bergen were formed into one parish under the direction of Father Lasher. 
Father David Lasher only remained a short time and was succeeded by his brother, the Rev. James 
Lasher, who erected the present parochial residence. Father P. A. Malloy came in 1881, and remained 
here for twelve years, laboring to the best of his ability in this difiicult mission, until he was appointed 
to a new parish in Buffalo. The Rev. Jas. H. Leddy came in August, 1893. The parish was incor- 
porated in this year under the title of St. Mary's Roman Catholic Church of Holley. The first trustees 
wei-e: Wm. O'Brien and James McVay. Father Leddy remained until 1898, when he was succeeded 
by the Rev. M. J. Noonan. Father Noonan was succeeded in 1902 by the Rev. J. H. McCarthy. 
Father Noonan and his immediate predecessors had accumulated a large fund for the purpose of 
erecting a fine church building. The well-known energy and zeal of the present pastor, and his pass 
record in church building, give ample evidence that in a few years Holley will have a Catholic church 
which will be a credit to the congregation. The present pastor is an energetic and genial gentleman, 
who is peculiarly fitted for the work of building up a fine church property at Holley. 


A few Catholics settled at Jamestown as early as 1850. The completion of the canal and the 
railroad had ceased to give employment to large numbers along the line of these works, and they sought 
a favorable locality in which to settle and establish a home. 

The Rev. John Doran said mass here in a private house as early as 1846, but there were only a 
few fugitive Catholics here then, looking for a permanent dwelling. The Rev. Patrick Mclvers came 
occasionally from Ellicottville in 1852, and said mass in private houses. The Rev. P. Colgan came 
from Dunkirk the next year, and he held services in Allen's Exchange. The next year he built a 


little frame church, in which he occasionally held services until the Franciscans from Allegany took 
charge, in 1855. The Franciscans continued until July 20, 1860, when the Rev. P. Byrnes came at 
the first resident pastor. 

The little church erected by Father Colgan was burned in 1861, and Father Byrnes bought a plot 
of land, and immediately began the erection of a church and a parochial residence. Father Byrnes 
boarded at Mr. O'Brien's until his residence was ready for occupancy. The baptismal record was 
started in July, 1860, by the Rev. J. Arents, who came on a cursory visit. When the Jamestown 
parish was formed with a resident pastor, a vast territory, with several missions, became part of the new 
pastor's care. Randolph in the east, and Westfield, French Creek and the territory to the State line 
in the west, were all within the confines of the new parish. Father Byrnes remained until August, 
1865, when the Rev. C. D. McMuUen came. Father McMullen started the school with forty pupils, 
one month after his appointment. 

The Rev. John Cahill and the Rev. John Baxter labored here for some years until Father Coyle 
was appointed. The Rev. R. Coyle succeeded Father Baxter June 11, 1874, and for nearly thirty 
years he has labored faithfully and zealously for the enlightenment of his people, the saving of souls, 
and the glory of God. He enlarged the church twice to accommodate the growing congregation. He 
finally erected a fine stone church building, sufiiciently large to meet the needs of his growing congrega- 
tion for many years to come. He reorganized the school and brought a community of Sisters of Mercy 
from Buffalo, in 1887, to teach the children of his parish. He also built a handsome pastor's home, 
in harmony with the material and style of the church; and altogether they form a parish property that 
is a credit to the Catholics and an ornament to the town. 


Irish Catholics settled at Java soon after work began on the Genesee Valley Canal. Some of 
them were attracted, no doubt, by the fame of the public works; but they decided to take up farming 
in the fertile fields of this part of Wyoming County. There is a tradition that Father Mangan, who 
was at Lockport for a few weeks, was the first priest to visit Java and say mass there. 

When the Rev. Father Smith came to Buffalo, in 1837, to look after the interests of the English 
speaking Catholics of the city he frequently made visits to Java, drawn thither by social ties and relig- 
ious duty. His brother settled on a farm at Java Lake, and here the priest frequently spent a few 
days in social intercourse, and he gathered around him the Catholics, and held services for them in 
some convenient farm house. He could not come very often, for the roads were rough and he could 
make but slow progress on the heavy wagon (1); and then he must hasten on to the canal sections, 
or to some of the many settlements in the three of four counties under his care. 

The Rev. John Urquhart (2), an Irish Dominican, came after Father Smith, and remained for a 
few months, visiting many of the settlements in Allegany, Steuben, and Wyoming counties. 

The Rev. P. Ratigan was the first priest to dwell at Java, as a resident pastor. He came in May, 
1842, and built the parochial residence. He visited the Catholics scattered through the region, for a 
few months; but the labors were too arduous and he retired to Boston. Father Ratigan was very 
zealous, and he labored hard to instruct the people and to build up the spiritual part of his parish. He 
gave a spiritual retreat or mission in his parish at Java, in the fall of 1842; and 437 persons received 
Holy Communion, and a large class was prepared for confirmation, but the bishop did not come to 
administer the sacrament. *■ ■» 

The Rev. Thomas McEvoy came in October, 1844; and he toiled zealously in Java and many 
of the little settlements in Western New York, instructing the people, and administering the sacraments, 
and organizing congregations. Father McEvoy remained nearly six years, traveling a great part of 
the time over the rough country roads, to say mass for little clusters of Catholics or to console the dying. 

After Father McEvoy there was a long series of pastors of Java, some remaining only a few weeks 
or months, but their pastorates were uneventful, and were merely marked by the lapse of time, until 
the Rev. J. V. O'Donohue built the magnificent brick church. The several pastors who labored here 
were: Rev. C. D. McMullen, September, 1850, to June, 1852; Rev. J. McKenna, June, 1852, to 

(1) A bug'jy or carriaa:e could not stand the rousliness of these roads. 

(2) He was pastor of St. Mary's Albany in 1836-37, and at the Cathedral in New York, in 1838-41. He then re- 
turned to Ireland. 


October, 1852; Rev. J. Quinlan, October, 1852, to April, 1853; Rev. J. Doran, April to September' 
1853; Rev. M. Walsh, one week; Rev. J. Donnelly, one week; Rev. B. McCool, November, 1853, 
to January, 1858; Rev. W. Hughes, February, 1858, to June, 1861; Rev. P. Barker, one month; 
Rev. M. O'Reilly, August, 1858, to June, 1861; Rev. N. Byrnes, June, 1861, to January, 1865; Rev. 
F. Le Breton, January, 1865, to September, 1867; Rev. S. SchoulepnikofiF, September, 1867, to Febru- 
ary, 1868; Rev. L. Van de Poel, one month; Rev. Wm. McNab, April to November, 1868; Rev. J. 
V. O'Donohue then for twelve years. 

The old church was letting in the rain on the congregation, and Father O'Donohue urged his 
people to erect a new house of worship. The clay soil was adapted for brick-making, so the material 
was manufactured close to the proposed church site. A fine building was erected, wliich, with its 
lofty spire and ample proportions, seems to have been transported from urban site to rural surrounding. 

The Rev. T. Brougham was here from November, 1881, to February, 1882; then Rev. B. B. 
Grattan came, and paid off the heavy debt. Then the Rev. M. O'Shea came in October, 1890, and 
started a little school. The Rev. E. Duffy was here from October, 1891, to July, 1897; then Rev. J. 
Garen came for one year, when the present pastor, the Rev. J. Colgan, was appointed. 


The parish church at North Java, dedicated to St. Nicholas, is composed cliiefly of former mem- 
bers of the parishes of Sheldon and Java Centre. The needs of the Catholics in this part of the country 
necessitated its foundation, by the Rt. Rev. Bishop Ryan. 

Rev. J. V. Schaus took charge of the parish in 1891, and finished the church, begun by the zealous 
members even before the arrival of a priest. He remained about fifteen months, and was succeeded 
by Rev. James C. Bubenheim. The present commodious rectory and barn were erected by Father 
Bubenheim, during his stay of four years. The Rev. F. X. Kofler was here for a short time when 
Father Schaus again took charge, built the school and placed it in charge of the Franciscan Sisters 
of Pine Street, Buffalo. The stately building is a lasting monument of his energy and zeal. After 
four years' stay. Rev. Joseph Schemel was appointed pastor. He was in turn, after fifteen months 
incumbency, followed by the Rev. Dr. A. Mueller. The Reverend present pastor succeeded Dr. Mueller, 
August 1, 1902. The excellent condition of the parish today, spiritually and financially, speaks well 
for the short line of pastors placed over it, and the generosity and sacrifices of a devoted people. The 
church, school and rectory are certainly a handsome and creditable property, taking into account the 
short time of the parish's existence. The church members number about 125 families, scattered over 
a pretty large territory. The Wyoming County almshouse, at Varysburg, is also attended periodically 
by the pastor. The school is attended by about 120 pupils on an average, and has the nine grades, 
which are taught by three sisters. The advanced pupils take the Regents examinations yearly. About 
fifteen or twenty are accommodated as boarders at the school. 


German Catholics settled in the district north of the City of Buffalo, called North Bush, as early 
as 1827. Under the direction of Father Mertz, of St. Louis' Church, they secured a tract of land and 
bu'lt a little log chapel, in which they assembled on Sundays and recited the rosary, when they could not 
attend mass at St. Louis' Church. Father Mertz, and Father Pax also, had visited this little chapel a 
few times and said mass in it. 

When the Rev. John P. Neumann took charge of the Williamsville parish in 1836, he visited this 
little chapel at North Bush as one of his regular missions. The next year a little log house of two 
rooms was built adjoining the chapel, and here Father Neumann established his home, as the first 
resident pastor of North Bush. Here he received Bishop Dubois, and several priests who had accom- 
panied the bishop on his visitation of the diocese. 

This little congregation was afterwards attended from Williamsville, until it became a part of the 
new parish of St. Joseph's at Elysville. Father Samogyi also dwelt in this little log hut for some months, 
attending the people here and at Black Rock, which was then called the Black Rock Dam. In 1849 
the little log chapel was too small to accommodate the number of people in that vicinity, and they 


decided to erect a new church building. Many of the congregation at that time lived at what was 
called Elysville, and this portion separated and built the new church of St. Joseph's, whilst those at 
North Bush erected a new stone church building. This little congregation at North Bush was attended 
regularly until 1892, when the chapel was abandoned, and a short time later a new congregation was 
formed with the growing settlement at Kenmore. The stone church building still exists at North 
Bush, and there are prospects of a revival of this second congregation formed in the diocese of Buffalo. 


The first settler (1808) in the present village of Lancaster had a typical Irish Catholic name, 
Edward Kearney. It was not until the stage began running between Buffalo and Batavia, in 1826, 
that prospective settlers were attracted to this region. With the influx of the Alsatians and Germans 
in 1828, and the following years, the accessible farming towns of Erie County received their first boom 
in population. 

The Rev. N. Mertz visited Lancaster about the time he was building the little log structure, 
which was the first Catholic Church in Buffalo. When the Catholics here needed the services of a 
priest they would journey to Buffalo, where the kindly old pastor of St. Louis was ready to heed their 
call. The Rev. A. Pax also came a few times to administer the sacraments to the people in Lancaster. 

In 1834 the Catholic settlers put up a barn-like structure of logs, which would serve for a church, 
in the hope that a priest might come that way sometimes and say mass for them. These faithful 
Catholics tramped all the way to Buffalo to hear mass on Sundays. The Rev. John Neumann was 
the first priest to regularly visit the Catholics at Lancaster. He visited Lancaster for the first time, 
July 18, 1836, to administer the sacraments to a person who was very ill. He said mass the next 
morning in the little rude structure, and preached a sermon on the humility of Jesus, who deigned to 
come to this humble hut as He once did to the stable at Bethlehem. The incomplete, roofless hut 
at Lancaster, to which Jesus deigned to come through the mass, was so similar to the rude shelter in 
which the Saviour was born that the saintly priest was visibly affected by the resemblance. 

From Williamsville Father Neumann tramped over the rough roads once a month to say mass 
for his little flock at Lancaster. After the departure of Father Neumann the little congregation was 
visited occasionally by his successors at Williamsville, the Rev. Theo. Noethen and the Rev. L. Schnei- 
der. Father Noethen dwelt some time at Lancaster, and he is considered its first resident priest. The 
Rev. P. Kramer had charge and resided with Mrs. Smith, the school teacher. A misunderstanding 
arose and he resigned. 

The construction and subsequent operation of the Erie railroad brought business and residents 
to Lancaster. It was incorporated as a village in 1849, and more factories were established this year, 
which gave an impetus to its growth. The influx of people necessitated more ample accommodations 
in the church. 

Many were in favor of enlarging the little church, but wiser counsels prevailed, and they decided 
to erect a new building. The new church was begun by Father Schmitt, the Redemptorist, but it 
was not finished until the Rev. Serge Schoulepnikoff came in 1850. The Rev. F. N. Uhrich had charge 
from January, 1852, to November, 1853, when Father Serge returned. Father Serge built the new 
church over the little frame building. The parishioners aided, by gratuitously drawing the material 
to the ground. 

There was a little settlement of Catholics near Elma in those days; so Mr. Freiburger erected a 
little chapel on his farm, in which the priest from Lancaster occasionally said mass. 

The Rev. F. N. Sester was appointed pastor in October, 1856, and remained three years; then 
Rev. Father Klein had charge one year, when Father Zawistowski was pastor until the Rev. H. Feldman 
came in December, 1862. Former pastors had boarded with some friendly family, or had kept bache- 
lor's hall in the rear room of the little frame school building; but Father Feldman immediately erected 
a small parsonage, beside the new brick church. 

Father Sester returned in 1867, and for more than a quarter of a century he labored faithfully 
for the interests of his people. He was genial and charitable, and a man of good judgment. He 
was a thorough musician; and his people loved to hear his trained voice chanting the music of the 
Church; and the priests of the diocese were pleased to follow his inspiring tones when he presided at 
the organ during their retreats. His great pride was the cemetery, which he graded and decorated 


with shrubbery and trees. The cemetery land formerly belonged to the brothers in charge of the 
reformatory school, and was bought by Father Sester from Bishop Timon, after the school was trans- 
ferred to Limestone Hill. 

Father Sester resigned the parish in 1891, and the Rev. A. Frey had charge until the Rev. V. 
Scheffels was appointed rector in March, 1892. Six years later Father Scheffels resigned, and the 
Rev. A. Ruffing had charge until the present rector, the Rev. J. V. Schaus was appointed, the last day 
of November. 

In all the vicissitudes of these years the school kept pace with the church. The first school was 
started under the care of Father Neumann, in a little frame building on the Transit Road. Mr. 
Schwam was teacher. 

In 1842 a frame building was erected on the site of the present school. There were three small 
rooms in this building, one was a class room in which Mr. Smith taught; another was the dwelling 
of the pastor, and the third was the kitchen. In those days the schoolmaster was an important per- 
sonage in the parish. He had charge of the sacristy, and he directed the church choir; and he also 
recited prayers at the funeral, and his pupils sang at the grave of some members of the flock when no 
priest could be obtained. 

Mr. Smith was at the head of the school seven years, when the brothers of St. Joseph came. The 
brothers only remained a short time; and then followed Mr. Lux, Mr. Franz, Mr. V. Irr, Mr. Leininger, 
Mr. Lohman, Mr. Rengel and Mr. Kaiser in succession. 

Father Sester erected the new school and convent in 1874, on the ground formerly occupied by 
the industrial school. The boys' orphan asylum and industrial home was started about 1850; and a 
factory-like building was erected; but a more favorable locality was shortly afterwards secured by 
Bishop Timon, and the institution was removed to Limestone Hill. 


German Catholics established homes in the town of North Collins, but they attended church at 
Eden until a little congregation was organized, in 1847, at Langford. 

This little place and New Oregon were mere missions for many years, because the growth of 
population increased slowly in this farming community. The Rev. Francis Schlee has been the 
pastor of this parish for seventeen years, and, unassuming in manner and exemplary in conduct, he 
has faithfully fulfilled his duties at all seasons. 


The first recorded visit of a priest to Leroy occurred in the spring of 1849. The Rev. E. Dillon 
came, then and said mass in the old round house, which was afterwards the site of the Universalist 
Church. Father Dillon came once a month from Batavia, and held services in the house of Dennis 

Bishop Timon rode over from Batavia, July 3, 1849, and lectured that evening in a large room, 
on the upper floor of a three-story house. He said mass the next morning in a private house, and he 
advised the people to purchase property and build a church. 

Father Dillon bought a lot on Pleasant Street, in September; and he erected a little frame church, 
which was ready for services at Christmas. Father Dillon continued until October, 1850, when the 
Rev. Thomas Patrick Fitzgerald took charge. The Rev. Francis O'Farrell came from Batavia two 
Sundays in the month, and he enlarged the little church to accommodate the growing numbers. The 
Rev. P. Brown attended for nine months when the Rev. James McGlue took charge. Father McGlue 
held services in Leroy three times a month. He started a little school in the basement of the church, 
and bought a large lot on Myrtle Street. 

The Rev. F. Cunningham came in 1860; and for eight years he drove from Batavia every Sunday 
to say mass, and attend to the wants of the thriving little congregation. He bought eight acres on 
Exchange Street for the cemetery; he enlarged the church, and started a fund for a new church building. 

The congregation was so large now that the bishop made it a parish, and appointed the Rev. 
D. Moore the first resident pastor. Father Moore bought the property on Lake Street, and had plans 
prepared for a fine new stone church. He died in January, 1871, leaving the church unfinished. 


The Rev. L. Van de Poel succeeded Father Moore, and finished the church, which was dedicated in 
December, 1873. He also opened a new school in September, 1889. For more than thirty years he 
has labored here faithfully, peacefully and successfully; and has adminis'ered the different sacraments 
to an entire generation of men. 


The earliest places of temporary settlement in Western New York were along the banks of the 
Niagara River. From the advent of the white military and commercial representatives at Fort 
Niagara, and at the mouth of the river, to the time that towns were formed, there were dwellers along 
the banks of this famous stream connecting the two lakes. Travel and traffic to the West were over 
this route before the building of the railroads, running to the West from New York and other eastern 
states. The building of the Welland Canal also brought many persons engaged in this line of work, 
near the Niagara frontier; and many of them were attracted by the prospects of future commercial 
activity at the mouth of the Niagara River, or the pleasing appearance of the soil in that vicinity for 
farm purposes. As early as 1834 there was a priest stationed at Niagara, on the Canadian side. This 
was Father Gordon, and he reports for that year several baptisms of children from the American side 
of the river. 

Lewiston and Youngstown have always had the same spiritual attendance. Their fate and 
growth and prospects were almost identical. In the earliest period Youngstown gave promise of an 
early growth of a prosperous city. It was at the mouth of the Niagara River, and was the natural land- 
ing place for the trade with the lower lake. Lewiston also had its advantages, because the lower river 
was navigable to this point, and the portage from this place to the upper lake would save several miles 
of transportation by land. Catholics, however, seemed to have settled around the region near the 
mouth of the river, at what is now called Youngstown. The Catholics of this region made an effort, 
in the summer of 1846, to organize a congregation. They purchased a cooper shop and a plot of land 
for $500.00, from Edward Smith. They paid $100.00 of the purchase price, and the balance was paid 
in annual instalments. The building was a little frame structure, forty-eight and one-half feet long, 
by twenty-one and one-half feet wide, and was lighted by three large windows on either side. It 
would accommodate about 150 persons, which was more than sufficient room for the established 
Catholic settlers of that region; but the summer season brought many visitors to this favored region, 
and at this time the little church was well filled. 

The Rev. C. D. McMullen was the first priest to visit the Catholics at Youngstown. He came 
occasionally from his home at Lockport, to say mass in the little building which had been converted 
into a church. The Rev. M. O'Connor also came a few times, and held services in the little church for 
the few Catholics of that district. Shortly after Bishop Timon came to Buffalo he formed Niagara 
Falls, Lewiston and Youngstown into one parish; and the priest for a short period dwelt at Lewiston, 
as the most central point of the parish. The Rev. John Boyle was the first resident pastor for this 
extensive parish. Lewiston was not only the most central point, but it was also the largest town in 
the district at that time. This was the period also of Youngstown's greatest prosperity. About three 
hundred Catholics attended the services; and there were many Catholic farmers and farm hands, and 
the town itself attracted many by the prospects of future greatness. Niagara Falls grew in numbers 
and importance whilst the other two settlements came to a standstill, or went backwards, and the 
pastor changed his residence to the place of greatest growth. Then the pastor came from Niagara 
Falls every two weeks, until the town of his residence became so large that it engaged his whole atten- 
tion. These two places were also attended for some time, every two weeks, from Lockport. 

Bishop Timon made his first visit to Lewiston the 20th of August, 1849, and he preached in the 
Unitarian church, because the little church was too small to accommodate the numbers so anxious to 
hear the bishop's lecture. The bishop made several other visits to these two little congregations 
before they had a resident pastor and on each occasion the bishop lectured in the Unitarian or Uni- 
versalist church, and said mass the next morning in the little frame building that served as a church 
for the Catholics. 

These two congregations have never grown into parishes of great importance. Like all smaller 
places they have had a long list of successive pastors. The record shows that the Rev. W. C. Stephens 
visited these two little congregations from 1851 to 1856; the Rev. C. Hardy in the latter year also. 


and the Rev. W. Hughes in 1856 and 1857; the Rev. P. Barker, Rev. P. Bradley and the Rev. J. 
Lynch in 1858. From 1858 to 1862 these two little places were attended by the priests from the semi- 
nary of Our Lady of Angels. The Rev. A. MulhoUand was pastor from 1862 to 1864 ; the Rev. P. 
Mulroy from 1864 to 1865, the Rev. J. Tuohey from 1865 to 1868; the Rev. J. J. Baxter, from 1869 
to 1870; the Rev. J. Brady, from 1870 to 1871; the Rev. M. O'Shea, from 1871 to 1874; the Rev. B. 
B. Grattan, from 1874 to 1876; the Rev. T. J. Johnson, from 1876 to 1881; the Rev. M. O'Shea, from 
1881 to 1885, and the Rev. P. Mullaney, from 1885 to 1889. The priests from the seminary came 
then for one year until the Rev. T. P. Lynch was appointed pastor. The Rev. H. M. Dolan came 
in 1901; and he built a magnificent stone church, which is an ornament to the town, a monument to 
the zeal and energy of the pastor, and a credit to the little congregation. Father Dolan was succeeded 
in__l903 by the present pastor, the Rev. Jas. B. Bray. 

Youngstown never rose to the dignity of an independent parish, but has always been attended 
by the priest residing at Lewiston since these two little congregations formed one parish. 


The Franciscan Fathers from Allegany first organized the Catholics of Limestone into a congrega- 
tion. Father McKenna and Father McEvoy probably said mass in this district before the Franciscans 
came, but there is no definite date assigned or remembered by the earliest inhabitants of mass having 
been said here before 1861. For several years services were held in the homes or Mr. Rowan, or Mr. 
Hennissy, once each month. In 1867 Father Anacletus started a little frame church on the site of the 
present building. This served the congregation for about ten years when the number of people necessi- 
tated an addition to the little building. The oil excitement brought many people to Limestone, in 
1877 and 1878, and the little congregation increased so rapidly that Bishop Ryan decided to give them 
a resident pastor. Up to this time the place had been attended by the Franciscans from Allegany. 
The first resident pastor was Rev. George Zurcher. He came in the summer of 1878, and remained 
until February, 1881. Soon after his advent he erected a parochial residence. He secured additional 
property for church purposes, and also land for a cemetery. Father Zurcher was succeeded by the 
Rev. J. A. Laffin, who only remained a short time when the Rev. J. V. Mclnerney was appointed. 
Father Mclnerney also only remained a few months when he was succeeded by the Rev. H. H. Connery, 
in August, 1881. Father Connery remained until July, 1883, and in his pastorate the little missions 
of Carrollton and the Vandalias were added to the parish of Limestone. There was a little settlement 
at Carrollton for several years, and the people had mass there occasionally by one of the Fathers from 
Allegany; but no effort was made to build a church there until Father Connery became the pastor of 
Limestone. In 1883 Father Connery was succeeded by the Rev. J. C. Biden. Father Biden com- 
pleted the work of building the little church at Carrollton begun by his predecessor. Father Biden 
also added a new addition to the church, and enlarged the parochial residence, and exchanged the 
cemetery property for a piece of land more conveniently situated near the town. Father Biden was 
succeeded in July, 1892, by the Rev. L. A. Smith. The little old church by this time was dilapidated 
looking, and the bishop hinted that it was not a credit to the congregation. Father Biden begun the 
work of collecting funds, but he had not made much progress, when he was succeeded by Father 
Smith. Father Smith immediately enlarged the little church at Carrollton. 

Early in 1893 Father Smith gave all his thought and energy to the erection of a new church at 
Limestone ; and in the incredibly short period of one year he had completed the new church building, 
and it was dedicated free from debt. Father Smith was succeeded in September, 1898, by the present 
pastor, the Rev. F. ScuUin. Father Scullin made considerable improvements in the church and paro- 
chial residence, and he also built a little church for the two missions of Chipmunk and Vandalias, 

Chipmunk had mass some years before any Catholics settled at Limestone, but it was only 
occasionally, when some priest came that way, that services were held in the home of one of the Cathohc 
settlers. Father Doran owned a large tract of land here, and he hoped to establish a Catholic settle- 
ment; and he built a little frame church on the land about the year 1850, but the Catholics did not 
establish homes here in any numbers, and the little frame church was abandoned. Father Scullin 
built the first Catholic church here, which was dedicated to St. John the Baptist. It cost about $4,000.00, 
and was built and paid for in the year 1900. The church is now in a prosperous condition and free 
from all debt. 



The enormous amount of work on the canal, in cutting through the ridge and building the locks, 
brought a large number of people to Lockport. Many of these came from Canada, where they had 
been employed in building the Lachine Canal. They were stone-cutters and masons, and many of 
them were Irish Catholics. They came in 1862, and brought the dread cholera scourge with them. 
The Rev. Bernard O'Reilly came from Rochester in 1834, and said mass in the court house. He 
encouraged them to organize and put up a building, in which they might occasionally have services. 

Messrs. Edward Bissel and Joel McCollum donated land for the church, and Lyman Spaulding 
also gave a lot, which was sold to raise funds for the building. Some of the men quarried stone and 
others helped in the construction of the building, which arose slowly, because they had no prospects 
for a resident pastor when their church should be complete. In the meantime mass was said in the 
court house, or in the school house, whenever a priest came that way. The walls were up and the 
roof was on, in 1835, when the building was blessed by Bishop Dubois. Father Mangan came in 
1836, and remained two or three weeks at a time, encouraging them in their church building labors. 

The Rev. Patrick Costello (1) had charge of the church at Greece in 1836, and he also visited 
Lockport occasionally, during the two subsequent years, residing part of the time at St. Mary's in 

In the summer of 1838, the Rev. Patrick Danaher was appointed pastor of the churches at Greece 
and Lockport. He was then pastor of St. Mary's Church, New York City, and his transfer to his 
new mission afforded him an extensive field for his labors. He remained but a few months, and 
was appointed to a parish in Brooklyn (2). 

The Rev. Patrick Costello came to reside in Lockport in 1839. His mission there embraced all 
the Catholic settlements in Niagara and Orleans counties. He had no permanent dwelling, but 
boarded at different houses in Lockport, or wherever his labors called him. The church was not 
completed then in Lockport, and the people made themselves as comfortable as possible on planks 
supported by quarried stones placed on the floor of the unfinished building. The Rev. C. D. Mc- 
Mullen came in 1842, enlarged and finished the church, and built a parochial residence at the rear 
of the church, on the adjoining lot. Stone was plentiful and convenient, so the buildings were constructed 
of this material. 

The Rev. T. McEvoy had charge of the church for two years from October, 1850, when the Rev. 
M. Creedon was appointed. Father Creedon found the population shifting to the higher ground in 
the south part of the town; so he bought two lots on the corner of Church and Caledonia streets for 
the church, which he knew would soon be needed to accommodate the increasing numbers. 

The bishop sent Father Creedon (3) to Auburn to build a church there, and the Rev. P. Bede 
replaced him at Lockport. Father Bede immediately began work on the new church of St. Patrick. 
The corner-stone was laid November 1, 1857, and the roof was in place two years later, when Father 
Bede was replaced by the Rev. Wm. Gleason, who completed the church, which was dedicated Novem- 
ber 1, 1863. St. John the Baptist's Church was then abandoned as a parish church, and the parochial 
residence was transferred to the new St. Patrick's. 

The old St. John the Baptist's Church was handed over to the Sisters of St. Mary, to be used for 
school purposes. Three years later the growing Catholic population in lower town required the 
re-opening of old St. John's. Rev. Edward Quigley was sent to re-organize the congregation, and to 
prepare the old church for services. Father Quigley had but started the work when he was succeeded 
by Father Fitzpatrick. Father Fitzpatrick continued the repairs, but he only remained a few months 
when the Rev. P. Byrnes came, in 1867. Father Byrnes continued the work and had the church 
re-dedicated by Bishop Timon. The basement was fitted up for school purposes. 

The Rev. H. Mulholland replaced Father Byrnes in 1869, and labored for four years, when he 
met with an accident which resulted in his death. The Rev. Edward Kelly had temporary charge of 
the parish until June, 1874, when the Rev. M. J. Darcy was appointed. Father Darcy labored strenu- 
ously in completing, decorating and ornamenting the church. He built a new facade; he completed 

(1) He was ordained March 25, 1836, by Bishop Dubois. 

(2) The announcement of the appointment is made in a New York paper of August 11, 1838. 

(3) The Know-Nothing party was rampant in Father Creedon 's time ; and they circulated a story that the Catholics 
were storing arms and ammunition in the basement of the church to murder Protestants. A committee waited on 
Father Creedon to protest agamst the murderous plot. Father Creedon conducted them to the basement, and they 
departed, satisfied that their fears were groundless. 


the tower, and he had the interior handsomely ornamented. All this work was finished by June 24, 
1885, the patronal feast of the church, and the day was celebrated with great pomp by the parish as 
the semi-centennial of the founding of the parish. 

Father Darcy's health gave way in 1895, and he was succeeded by the present rector, the Rev. 
J. J. Leddy. 

ST. Mary's church, lockport. 

German Catholics settled in Lockport as early as 1850, and occasionally the German priest from 
Pendleton visited them to look after their spiritual interests. Bishop Timon first formed them into a 
separate body, by ordering a mission for them in St. John's Church. 

Before the founding of St. Mary's the German Catholics of Lockport were accustomed to worship 
at St. John's Church, in that city. Encouraged by the continual increase of their number, they held 
a meeting in the basement of St. John's Church in the beginning of 1859, for the purpose of discussing 
the advisability of forming a congregation by themselves. The outcome was that St. Mary's was 
founded on the eighth day of February, 1859. It was decided to purchase the frame church, situated 
at the corner of Buffalo and Saxton streets, formerly occupied by the Episcopalians as a place of worship, 
for the sum of two thousand dollars. On the sixth day of March, 1859, this church was dedicated by the 
Rev. Father Bede of St. John's Church of this city, assisted by the Rev. Father Uhrich of Tonawanda. 

Rev. Father Uhrich was first assigned to take charge of this parish, in connection with his parish 
in Tonawanda; and he came twice a month from his home and said mass in their little church. Father 
Uhrich had charge of the congregation till the year 1863, when, for a short time, the Jesuit Fathers 
administered it; and they were succeeded by the Rev. Father Zoegel. Father Zoegel was the first 
resident pastor and to him is accorded the honor of having built the first parsonage. He only remained 
from '63 to '64, and was followed by Rev. Father Hechinger, who remained from '64 to '66. Following 
Father Hechinger, Father Zoegel was again appointed pastor; and this time his pastorate extended 
from '66 to '68, when Father Wensierski came and remained from '68 to' 69. In 1869 Father Kofler 
was appointed pastor; and after a stay of about two years Father Wensierski came again, and his pas- 
torate extended from '71 to '72, when Father Uhrich, the first pastor, was a second time appointed 
rector of the parish. 

The parochial school, which was started shortly after the forming of the congregation, had been 
conducted in the basement of the church, but as the congregation had grown considerably within 
these thirteen years, this space had become inadequate and it was decided to build a separate school 
house. Father Uhrich, who administered the affairs of the congregation from '72 to '77, undertook 
this work and in a comparatively short time the new school building was completed and ready for 
occupancy. In 1877 Father Uhrich was followed by Rev. Father Scheffels, who remained till 1881, 
when he was succeeded by Rev. Father Soemer, who remained from '81 to '83. 

On November 1st, 1883, Rev. Father Grill took charge of the congregation. Shortly after his 
arrival he took steps to raise money for the building of a new church, and, accordingly, in the year 1885, 
the present church was begun. The corner-stone was laid on the fourth day of June, 1885, and in 
April, 1886, the church was dedicated by Rt. Rev. Bishop Ryan. The present school was built in 
1892, and in 1894 Father Grill undertook the work and completed the present rectory. On Septem- 
ber eleventh, 1896, after a stay of nearly thirteen years. Father Grill left for his new charge in the 
City of Buffalo, and on the same day. Father Theis, the new rector, arrived. Father Theis was a 
sickly man, and came to Lockport with the expectations of regaining his health. The hand of death, 
however, was upon him, and after a long illness he expired on the second day of December, 1896. 
His funeral took place on the fourth of December, and he lies buried in St. Mary's Cemetery at Lock- 
port. On the twenty-eighth day of December, same year. Rev. Father Gysen took charge of the con- 
gregation. He remained till the nineteenth day of November, 1898, when he took charge of a parish 
in the City of Buffalo. On Thanksgi^dng day, November 24th, 1898, Rev. Father Bubenheim suc- 
ceeded as rector of the parish. Father Bubenheim's stay was for the very short period of seven months; 
and on June 23d, 1899, he was succeeded by Rev. Father Schillo. Father Schillo was sick when he 
arrived, and, on the 17th day of August, 1900, a little more than a year from his arrival, he died after 
a long illness, and was buried three days later at Pine Hill Cemetery, Buffalo. Following Father 
Schillo, on August 21st, 1900, the Rev. Father Frey took charge of St. Mary's. He remained until 
May 14th, 1901, when he was succeeded by the present pastor. Rev. Henry Fuchs. 


Today St. Mary's congregation of Lockport contains about one hundred and eighty families. 
It has grown from a small congregation in 1859, to one of the largest German congregations outside 
of the City of Buffalo. Its growth has been gradual and steady, and no doubt will continue under the 
able management of the present beloved pastor. 


The Rev. M. Creedon was pastor of St. John the Baptist's Church, in the City of Locks, in 1856, 
and he saw that the introduction of the railroad and the building of the locks were alluring the people 
to the southern part of the city; so he secured two lots at Church and Caledonia streets as a site for a 
church. The Rev. P. Bede succeeded Father Creedon at St. John's; and he began the new church of 
St. Patrick's, and had it ready for the corner-stone laying All Saints Day, 1857. The Rev. Wm. Gleeson 
followed Father Bede, and he finished the church and the small building adjoining, which was intended 
for the residence of the pastor. The church was dedicated on the feast of All Saints, 1863, and was 
immediately opened for services under the pastorate of Father Gleeson. The Rev. F. O'Farrell 
followed Father Gleeson in 1864, and remained about eighteen months when he was succeeded by the 
Rev. M. O'Brian, who was pastor of St. Patrick's for a like period. Then the Rev. J. O'Mara came 
for four years when the Rev. P. Cannon, the present pastor was appointed. 

Father Cannon came in July, 1859, and for more than thirty years he has wisely directed the 
affairs of St. Patrick's parish. He enlarged the pastor's residence and converted the little stone build- 
ing into a fine, large and commodious dwelling. He practically remodeled the church, adding towers, 
and a facade, and interior ornamentation. He has been honored by the church for his good judgment 
and sterling qualities; and he is loved by his people for his pleasant humor and his priestly 


Medina was incorporated as a village in 1832, and about four years later it began to receive the 
attention of a priest. When the Rev. P. Costello established a residence at Lockport he came occa- 
sionally to Medina, and said mass in a private house. In 1840 an effort was made to start a church. 
An old frame building, which had done duty for the Presbyterians, was bought, and was moved to a 
lot purchased from W. R. Given. The people were not very regularly attended at this time, payments 
were not made on the lot, and it reverted to its former owner. 

The Rev. C. D. McMullen came from Lockport once a month, for a few years about 1842, until 
he was succeeded in this work by the Rev. John Boyle, who came from Youngstown, and later from 
Niagara Falls, every fifth week. The Rev. E. Dillon resided here some time, and bought the old 
church which was afterwards used as a school house. Then came Father Harmon, who by his gentle 
ways and zealous labors gained the affection of all, and is held in fond remembrance. He bought 
some land for future needs. He died here, and was succeeded by the Rev. Martin O'Connor. Father 
O'Connor came in 1852, and he immediately started work on the church. He also bought a lot for 
a parochial residence, and shortly afterwards he erected a comfortable dwelling. Previous to Father 
O'Connor's time the Catholics were obliged to bring their dead to Lockport for burial; so 
Father O'Connor bought land for a cemetery, and had it blessed for the use of the people of his 

Father O'Connor had also made preparations to establish a school. He had secured a lot adjoin- 
ing the church, and a fair was held this year to build a residence for the sisters, who were to have charge 
of the school. Father O'Connor was called to Buffalo in 1858, and he was succeeded by the Rev. N. 
Byrnes, who only remained one year. Father Byi-nes was succeeded by the Rev. Thomas McGuire, 
who was pastor for six months, and then the Rev. T. Brady was appointed pastor. Father Brady was 
succeeded in 1860 by the Rev. J. O'Mara, who remained seven years, and then the Rev. M. McDonald 
came and had charge of the parish for the six succeeding years. After Father McDonald came the 
Rev. Wm. J. McNab, in 1873, and for nearly thirty years he directed the affairs of the parish. He 
celebrated here his silver jubilee, and was honored by his own people and the prominent Protestants 
of the town. In 1901 the Rev. Nicholas Gibbons, the irremovable rector of Niagara Falls, died, and 
Father McNab was appointed his successor. The Rev. P. Berkery succeeded Father McNab at 


Medina, and he immediately proposed to erect several grand new buildings in the parish. He first 
turned his attention to the church, and he is now guiding to completion, one of the finest stone church 
buildings in Western New York, outside of the large cities. Father Berkery's energy and zeal is fast 
making a great parish out of Medina, which, as a congregation, had long been dormant. 


The Rev. M. O'Conner came occasionally to visit the Catholics of Middleport, and said mass in 
a private house until Bishop Timon came in September, 1855, and selected a site for a little church. 
Father O'Conner erected a little frame building on this property; and the place was attended for many 
years from Medina, until it obtained a resident pastor in the person of the Rev. J. C. O'Reilly. Father 
O'Reilly was succeeded by the Rev. T. Ledwith, who only remained a short time when the Rev. Jas. 
Roach came as pastor, in July, 1884. Father Roach remained here until 1898, and he was succeeded 
by the Rev. E. Purcell. Father Purcell only remained a short time when he was succeeded by the 
Rev. T. Milde. For several years Gasport, a little place about nine miles distant from Middleport, 
formed with it one parish. 

These are small little places, and their history is uneventful. No great change takes place in the 
congregation, and the only event of importance is the change of pastor, or the visit of the bishop. The 
little parish is prosperous, and has the attention and care required for the wants of the people. 


This parish was organized in the early summer of 1859, by the Rev. Thomas Sheehan. The 
Catholic farmers of this vicinity attended the church in Lockport before the little congregation here 
was organized. Mr. John Mulroy donated one acre of land; and a little frame church was erected on 
this plot of ground, and was dedicated on the 30th of November, 1859. For some years this little 
congregation was a part of the Lewiston parish. 

There are two little missions attached to the Newfane parish, which are regularly attended by the 
pastor. These are Olcott and Cambria. The little church at Olcott was built in 1884, by the Rev. 
J. C. Long, and the church at Cambria was built by the Rev. H. Mulholland, about 1862. Hartland 
and Royalton were also attended by the priest who had charge of the Newfane parish. The church 
at Hartland was organized by the Rev. M. O'Conner, who resided at Medina. It was built on what 
was called the Quaker Road, in 1856, and was dedicated in 1857. 

The following pastors had charge of the Newfane parish: Rev. T. Sheehan, from 1859, to 1896; 
Rev. H. Mulholland, from 1861, to 1865; Rev. P. A. Malloy, from 1865, to 1868; Rev. M. O'Dwyer, 
from 1868, to 1872; Rev. T. Brougham, from 1872, to 1876; Rev. J. Long, from 1876, to 1884; Rev. 
M. O'Shea, from 1884, to 1886; Rev. M. Noonan, from 1886, to 1894; Rev. J. Ryan, from 1894, to 
1895; Rev. D. Ryan, from 1895, to 1897